[Diocese of Louisiana] The doors of Christ Church Cathedral opened and the celebration began as any true Louisiana celebration should—to the strains of a jazz band playing “Oh, When the Saints.” Fifty-three people, banners held high, came in one at a time to represent the churches, schools and institutions of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.
On November 19 at the Cathedral in New Orleans, the Rt. Rev. Shannon Rogers Duckworth was ordained and dedicated November 12th bishop of the diocese. Duckworth is the first woman to serve as bishop since the diocese was founded in 1838.
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry served as chief consecrator. Co-consecrators were Bishop Morris K. Thompson Jr., the predecessor Bishop of Louisiana; Bishop Michael Hunn of Rio Grande; Bishop Duncan Gray III, retired bishop of Mississippi; Bishop of West North Carolina, 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 minister of the service was a longtime friend of Duckworth’s, the Rev. Richard Lawson, Dean of St. John’s Cathedral in Denver, Colorado. “Take a deep breath, Diocese of Louisiana,” he said at the end of the sermon. “You don’t just have a new bishop. There’s a fresh breeze in the air. And take a deep breath, Shannon. We have your back.”
Music was provided by choir members from around the diocese, as well as Matt Lemmler’s New Orleans Jazz Revival Band and the Congo Square Drummers. Christ Church Cathedral commissions Jessica Nelson, organist and choirmaster at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Jackson, Mississippi, to compose a hymn for the service based on the words of Julian of Norwich, “Our lives are founded and rooted entirely in love, and we cannot live without love.”
The quote was also used by Duckworth in a Service Bulletin note of thanks, in which she said: “Together, may we recommit ourselves to finding new ways to share this love with one another.” I look forward to this journey together. I keep you, the wonderful clergy and laity of the diocese, in my daily prayers and I ask you to keep me and my family in yours.”
Duckworth was officially placed at Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans the following day, November 20. As diocesan bishop, Duckworth will lead 48 congregations in southeast Louisiana with more than 16,000 members.
A video of the dedication service and seating are available on the Christ Church Cathedral YouTube channel.