.- The Catholic faithful of Hawaii are ready to celebrate the historic ordination of Fr. Clarence “Larry” Silva as the fifth bishop of Honolulu. Not only is he the first bishop of Honolulu to be ordained and installed during the same ceremony, but he is also the first Honolulu-born priest to be named bishop of the diocese since it was established in 1941.
What’s more, the faithful had waited more than a year — since May 2004 — to have a new bishop. Fr. Silva succeeds Bishop Francis DiLorenzo who was appointed bishop of Richmond, Va., by Pope John Paul II in March 2004.
Before the nomination, the 55-year-old priest had been the vicar general of the Diocese of Oakland, Calif.
Fr. Thomas Gross of Enchanted Lakes on Oahu served as the diocesan administrator while the diocese waited for a new appointment from the Pope. Diocesan spokesperson Patrick Downes said this has been the longest the diocese has been without a bishop.
Fr. Silva’s episcopal ordination and installation ceremony will be held Thursday in Oahu at the Neal Blaisdell Center Arena, followed by a dinner reception at the center’s Exhibition Hall. About 4,000 people are expected to attend the two-hour televised mass.
Fr. Silva was born in Honolulu in 1949 and is of both Portuguese and Mauian heritage. This has even inspired some Maui Catholic faithful to travel to Oahu for the event.
His family lived in Windward Oahu. When he was one year old, his family moved from Hawaii to the Bay Area of San Francisco, eventually putting down roots in San Leandro on the east bay, where many former Hawaii Portuguese immigrants had settled.
The new bishop is expected to visit Maui at the end of August.