The desire of the Filipino Catholics to have a Filipino bishop have been gratified and Mgr. Barlin is now the consecrated bishop of Nueva Caceres. The ceremonies held yesterday morning at Santo Domingo church were gorgeous in the extreme, for it has been many years since two archbishops and four bishops have been gathered together here at the same time to take part in any ecclesiastical ceremony. In spite of the drizzling weather, the church was crowded, some estimating that there were no less than seven thousand people crammed inside and gathered outside the spacious edifice.
The ceremonies began at seven O'clock. The church was prettily decorated with banners and buntings and flowers. Between the high arches were hung banners bearing the names of the several bishops of the archdiocese and those of the archbishop and the papal delegate. There was also the profusion of flowers and lights, the altar being resplendent in its natural unadorned beauty, and with its beautiful gold and silver communion rail.
One of the first distinguished visitors to arrive was Commissioner Dean C. Worcester. Senor Velasco and his family was also an early arrival. Governor General Ide arrived during the sermon, he having been delayed by stress of business that had to be attended to at the Ayuntamiento.
In the center of the church sat the professors of the University of Santo Tomas, dressed in their gorgeous official robes of bright red, yellow, blue, violet, green and other colors. Bishop Hendricks was the first of the prelates to arrive. He. entered the church with his retinue and at once took his place at the altar. He was followed by Mgr. Tunon, domestic prelate and dean of the cathedral. Bishops Dougherty and Rooker soon followed with their retinues and finally came the papal delegate and the archbishop.
The ceremonial of consecration used was the same adopted by the church for that purpose for about eighteen centuries. It was beyond measure, symbolic, yet simple. The prelates taking actual part were dressed in full pontifical robes. Bishops Hendricks and Dougherty being present in their episcopal robes.
The first ceremony was the investments of the prelates with their pontifical robes. Ten native clerics waited on the delegates each one bearing some part of the vestments. When the investments was concluded, Mgr. Agius took his seat before the altar facing the people. Mgr. Barlin and his two assistants, Mgr. Harty and Mgr. Rooker taking their seats in the center of the sanctuary, Mgr. Barlin facing the apostolic delegate.
The papal bull of nomination was read aloud by Father Petrelli, the private secretary of the delegate. This was the first step towards the consecration: the second was the taking of the oath of obedience to the church and to her teachings, and the third the profession of the faith. Having performed this part of the ceremonial, Mgr. Barlin arose and kissing the pastoral ring of the delegate took his seat. The service of the mass was then began.
From time to time during the mass the consecration was advanced, the last act or the annointment and enthroning of the new bishop, being performed amid a silence as deep as it was awe inspiring. Once invested with all the powers and privileges of a bishop, Mgr. Barlin accompanied by the rest of the prelates, passed around the church giving his blessing to the kneeling multitude.
Everything passed off without a hitch, the ceremonies were long taking about three hours and three quarters to perform and at the conclusion of the consecration the prelates adjourned to the university of Santo Tomas were a succulent luncheon had been prepared.
It is probable that before long, there will be three or four new dioceses established in the archipelago. Whether the bishops appointed by the holy see will be Filipinos is as yet unknown, the appointment coming from Rome, but it is understood that at least two of the dioceses will be provided with native prelates.