An hour before his ordination, Thomas Rodi was outside the Nativity Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral. He talked with two younger members of the catholic diocese. And then he told us what it means to be the next bishop of the church. "I'm very excited and very joyful about being here in the diocese of Biloxi," the new bishop said. "And I look forward now to getting to meet the people of the diocese."
Between 2:00 and 3:00, 550 invited guests arrived at the downtown Biloxi cathedral to see the installation in person. The Carusos' drove over from Slidell. Back in 1967, they got married at Nativity. They came back to the church to watch their friend become a bishop. "You have a man who is going to be a wonderful manager," Sam Caruso said. "He's a wonderful administrator. You'll see as he gets moving."
Outside the church, priests from all over the coast, and all over the region lined up for the opening procession. They applauded when Thomas Rodi took his place in line. Inside the church, choir member Helen Bieda prepared for one of the most important services of her life. Bieda saidd, "We're excited because our faith life depends on the leadership we receive. And we're looking forward to Bishop Tom Rodi leading us into great, wonderful things."
Six miles away, the Coliseum invited hundreds of Catholics to celebrate the mass in front of a big screen TV. The WLOX broadcast gave everybody the chance to be part of Bishop Rodi's installation service. According to church parishioner Rose Skelton, "It's just such an honor to participate in a celebration, the ordination of a bishop."
Nativity BVM has special meaning to Bishop Rodi. Back in 1910, his grandparents got married in the Biloxi church. Almost a century later, his family was back at Nativity, this time to watch Thomas Rodi become the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi.