Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski wears a pectoral cross given to him by Archbishop William E. Lori prior to July 13 farewell Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland. (Tom McCarthy Jr. / CR Staff)
By George P. Matysek Jr.
Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski will have more than one choice when wearing the symbols of his episcopal office in the Diocese of Springfield, Mass. He owns four pectoral crosses and two episcopal rings, each of which holds special meaning for the native Baltimorean.
Prior to Bishop Rozanski’s July 13 farewell Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland, Archbishop William E. Lori presented his auxiliary bishop with a pectoral cross. The religious symbol is a copy of one worn by St. John Paul II when he was archbishop of Krakow and then pope.
At the end of the Mass, Bishop Rozanski said he will wear the cross as a reminder of the affection of the archbishop and the people of the archdiocese. It is also a reminder of his Catholic faith and Polish heritage that “go hand in hand,” he said.
The bishop also owns a replica of one of Cardinal William H. Keeler’s pectoral crosses that was made in Spain and given to Bishop Rozanski by the cardinal. The cross features an image of “Christ the Pantocrator,” in English, “Christ the Judge.” It is surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists, a reference to Cardinal Keeler’s motto: “To do the work of an Evangelist.”
A third pectoral cross was given to Bishop Rozanski by Bishop William C. Newman. It is the cross that was commissioned in honor of St. John Paul II’s 25th anniversary as pope. On the reverse side is inscribed “Joannes Paulus Anno XXV.”
During a visit with Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 with other U.S. bishops, Bishop Rozanski also received a pectoral cross from Pope Benedict. The “San Anselmo” cross is named for its Benedictine roots.
Bishop Rozanski owns two special episcopal rings. One, a gift of Cardinal Keeler, is a copy of the rings given to bishops by Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council. It has the papal coat of arms engraved on the inside and a triptych of Christ and Ss. Peter and Paul on the outside.
Another ring owned by Bishop Rozanski was a gift of Dr. James P. G. (Seamus) Flynn, who knew Bishop Rozanski as his pastor at St. John the Evangelist in Severna Park.
The heavy, gold object features a large, pale amethyst stone that likely dates to the mid-19th century. The Flynn family believes it was crafted in Ireland. According to an Aug. 19, 2004, article in the Catholic Review, the ring had once belonged to Bishop William J. Philbin of Down and Connor, Ireland. It was a gift of the Flynn family that had owned the treasure for many years.