I first met him years ago in my seminary days, when he was secretary to James Cardinal Hickey. The Cardinal had a love for the Mount, and would visit from time to time, almost always with the then-Father Knestout at the wheel (the fact that he is a Mount alumnus also meant he could probably drive up routes 270 and 15 blindfolded).
The greatest gift he ever gave me was when I was one of the house Masters of Ceremonies. At the time, the seminary scheduled one MC for service each day. The rector decided to have a Eucharistic Day on a day I had been scheduled to be the "MC of the day", and Cardinal Hickey was coming to celebrate Mass, lead Exposition and Adoration, take part in a Eucharistic procession, and then conclude with Vespers and Benediction. I knew he had a secretary, so I wasn't in much of a panic (that didn't come until I found out the seminary visit from my diocese's vocations director would coincide with the Eucharistic Day), and I had enlisted the help of the other house MCs. Then they arrived and I found out that he was letting me do it all. What a blast that was! Me MC-ing for a Cardinal! Not only that, but a Cardinal who loved wearing all the trappings. My interaction with Cardinal Hickey will be saved for another blog entry.
But back to the Bishop-Elect.
The Episcopal ordination of Msgr. Knestout will make for an interesting "trifecta" in the Church. Knestout's father had been a Permanent Deacon before his death. His brother, Mark, is also a Priest of the Washington Archdiocese. It means the family will have had members in all grades of Holy Orders: Deacon, Priest, and now Bishop. Before some nit-picker writes me and says that both priests in the family had been ordained deacons, you know what I'm trying to get at.
The new Bishop's coat of arms will reflect his ecclesial career: In the bottom part of the shield is both a lion from the coat of arms of Cardinal Hickey, as well as a tower from the coat of arms of Archbishop Donald Wuerl (for whom he has served in various positions and committees). His episcopal motto was the theme of Pope Benedict's visit to the United States (a major part of which was his visit to Washington, DC), for which the bishop-elect was co-chair of the committee handling the arrangements.
Congratulations to another Mountie entering the College of Bishops! I suppose we know who'll be the main celebrant of the homecoming Mass in '09.