KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- The Diocese of Knoxville's Bishop Richard Stika was ordained and installed Thursday afternoon in a mass at the Knoxville Convention Center.
Click here to download the mass program.
After his ordination, Bishop Stika blessed the crowd and spoke to his new flock about the rights he would work to protect.
"The right to food and to housing, the right to a just wage and the ability to live a life of fulfillment, especially the right to life itself," he said.
People came from all over to attend the event.
"There is something very comforting about the ritual of the Catholic faith and this is a part of it," said Carole Miller, a Catholic school teacher from Chattanooga who brought her class to Knoxville.
Stika is the third bishop of the Knoxville diocese. His appointment was announced in January.
Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia and a longtime friend of Bishop Stika, was the principal consecrator at the ordination.
The co-consecrators were Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, of Louisville, Ky., and Bishop Robert J. Shaheen, of the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon.
Archbishop Kurtz served as the second bishop of Knoxville from 1999 to 2007. Bishop Shaheen, whose eparchy is based in St. Louis, is another old friend of Bishop Stika.
Since his ordination to the priesthood in 1985, Bishop Stika has served in pastoral and archdiocesan leadership roles, including chancellor and vicar general for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
He also served as pastor of the Church of the Annunziata in Ladue, Mo., just outside St. Louis, from 2004 until his elevation to bishop.
The Knoxville Diocese, which encompasses the eastern third of Tennessee includes 36 counties. It was founded in 1988 and is home to nearly 60,000 Catholics in 47 parishes.