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Etiquette With Your Bishop

Some of you have asked about how to greet your Bishop, so I presume that there are many others who are also curious. Here are a few key points:

1) Never call him by his first name "Steven". That is only used in the Mass when he is prayed for by the Priest.

2) In general conversation you can call him "Bishop" or "Bishop Lopes" (as in "Bishop, can I get you another slice of pie?").

3) When greeting him for the first time (especially) it is appropriate to call him "Your Excellency".

4) At that first greeting, if you wish you may use the traditional Catholic form of kneeling on your left knee (the right knee is only when we genuflect to Christ), say "Your Excellency", reach out your right hand to him and allow him to give you his hand with the Bishop's ring, then kiss the ring (not the hand) as a sign of respect for the office he holds. In essence, you are kissing the ring of the Apostles and acknowledging their authority in the Church (is that cool, or what?!).

There are also a few extra details that are important to know:

5) Bishop Lopes is human, so, yes, you can joke with him. He has a very good sense of humor and will appreciate it.

6) He is not a former Anglican as I am so he was brought up in the Church. He may (though it is unlikely) be unfamiliar with some detail of English Catholic Spirituality, but he definitely knows more about the Church than I do. Feel free to ask him questions.

7) Try not to monopolize his time. He wants to meet with everyone but only has so much time with us.

8) Be ready to give the proper responses at the Pontifical Blessing at the end of Mass (page 23 in the spiral bound Pew Missal).


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