FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth prepared the Fort Worth Convention Center to receive up to 15,000 people, all attending the ordination of its new bishop, Michael Olson.
Diocese workers converted the space to simulate the interior of a giant cathedral complete with altars, an enormous, lit crucifix and ornate trappings. The diocese even let children out of their schools so they could attend.
"It's a once in a lifetime thing sometimes and we brought the kids -- and me -- to come out to celebrate it," said Hillary Boley, who attended the Mass of Ordination with her two daughters and one of their friends.
Nearly 500 deacons, priests and bishops were in the procession as the Mass of Ordination began. They were flanked by colorfully uniformed members of the Knights of Columbus fraternal organization, who held swords at attention as the procession passed.
Bishop Olson will lead 800,000 Catholics over a 28-county area.
One of the scriptures was read in Vietnamese, symbolizing the diversity church members hope the new bishop will embrace.
"We have a huge immigration here now which we need to address," said church member John Hernandez.
Bishop Olson said he plans to focus on involving young people in the church as one of his priorities.
"I think it starts from the children," Boley said. "So, bringing the young people together in a new era would be great."
David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, released a statement that said, in part,
"We urge Ft. Worth citizens and Catholics to be skeptical. Vigilance protects kids. Complacency protects no one. So while it's tempting to give the new guy "the benefit of the doubt," we urge parishioners and the public to report known and suspected clergy sexual misdeeds to secular officials, not church officials."
Bishop Olson told CBS 11 News last week he plans on enforcing protections for young people while continuing to aid victims of abuse.
Olson is now the first Fort Worth priest to become a bishop, and the second youngest leader of a diocese in the United States.
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