[Diocese of Louisiana] The doors of Christ Church Cathedral opened, and the celebration began the way any true Louisiana celebration should – to the sound of a jazz band playing “Oh, When the Saints.” Fifty-three people with banners held high walked in, one after another, to represent the churches, schools and institutions across the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.
On Nov. 19 at the cathedral in New Orleans, the Rt. Rev. Shannon Rogers Duckworth was ordained and consecrated the 12th bishop of the diocese. Duckworth is the first woman to serve as bishop since the diocese was formed in 1838.
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry served as the chief consecrator. Co-consecrators were Bishop Morris K. Thompson Jr., the preceding bishop of Louisiana; Rio Grande Bishop Michael Hunn; Bishop Duncan Gray III, retired bishop of Mississippi; Western North Carolina Bishop Jose McLoughlin; Texas Bishop Suffragan Kai Ryan, and Bishop Michael Rinehart of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The preacher for the service was a long-time friend of Duckworth, the Very Rev. Richard Lawson, dean of St. John’s Cathedral, Denver, Colorado. “Breath deep, Diocese of Louisiana,” he said at the conclusion of the sermon. “You don’t just have a new bishop. There’s a fresh breeze in the air. And breathe deep, Shannon. We’ve got your back.”
Providing music were choir members from across the diocese, as well as Matt Lemmler’s New Orleans Jazz Revival Band and the Congo Square Drummers. Christ Church Cathedral commission Jessica Nelson, organist and choir master at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Jackson, Mississippi, to compose an anthem for the service based on the words of Julian of Norwich, “Our life is all grounded and rooted in love, and without love we cannot live.”
The quote was also used by Duckworth in a word of thanks found in the service bulletin where she went on the say, “Together, may we recommit ourselves to seek new ways of sharing this love with one another. I look forward to this journey together. I daily keep you, the wonderful clergy and laity of the diocese in my prayers, and I ask you keep me and my family in yours.”
Duckworth was formally seated the following day, Nov. 20, at Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans. As the diocesan bishop, Duckworth will lead 48 congregations across southeast Louisiana, with more than 16,000 members.
Video of the consecration service and the seating are available on the Christ Church Cathedral YouTube channel.