A powerful experience
For Nancy Weaver of Storm Lake, Friday was an experience she will never forget.
Weaver was one of two parishioners at Storm Lake St. Mary's who were lucky winners of a drawing to see the installation of the Rev. R. R. Walker Nickless Friday at the Church of the Nativity Our Lord Jesus Christ in Sioux City, ending the longest episcopal vacancy in the United States. The other winner was Paul Kestle, also of Storm Lake.
Nickless is just the seventh bishop in the 103-year history of the Diocese of Sioux City., which includes Storm Lake. Nickless, 58, was preceded by Bishop Daniel N. DiNardo, who now serves as a coadjutor archbishop at the Diocese of Galveston-Houston.
The installation, which began at 2 p.m., lasted about two and a half hours. Weaver described the event as "very reverent. It was a pretty awesome experience."
Weaver witnessed several dozen bishops and over 100 priests processing in their robes. The event was reminiscent of the early days of the Roman Catholic Church.
It featured members of the Knights of Columbus wearing plumed hats and holding ceremonial swords.
Weaver said one of the most emotional moments was when Nickless' siblings brought the gifts of bread and wine to the altar. His parents and all nine siblings attended.
Nickless came from Denver where he grew up and served in the ministry.
"He himself got very emotional when he thanked his family," Weaver said.
Bishop DiNardo, known throughout the Sioux City diocese for his personable nature, is apparently succeeded by a very able replacement, in Weaver's estimation.
"It seems like they found a very good man," Weaver said. "He was very personable. It was very reverent overall. It was just a very nice experience to be there and be a part of."
A special treat was when members of the diocese saw bishop DiNardo again.
"I think everyone was glad to see Bishop DiNardo back too," Weaver said.
Weaver said Father Bruce Lawler at Storm Lake St. Mary's was a key organizer of the installation. "He made sure everything clicked," Weaver said.
In addition to the Catholic faithful, there were representatives from other faiths, said Weaver, noting, "It wasn't just people of other faiths there."
Weaver said she had heard that 800 tickets were issued for the installation.