When my father-in-law died, I observed that no one among his six sons, their wives and his many grandchildren wanted to sit in his chair at the table. It wasn’t fear or dread, it was something much simpler: the chair, that chair, belonged to Leonard. It always had, and, in some sense, it always would. We had eaten so many meals with him at the head of the table in his chair. We had played so many games of cards with him at the head of the table in his chair. I understood as I watched us take our places at meals after his death that the chair stood for Leonard and his place among us.
The chair is a sign of our unity and of our tradition and history.
Today is the Feast of the Chair of Peter. Each bishop has a chair, the bishop’s chair, from which he presides. The Latin word for a bishop’s chair is “cathedra.” That is the source for our word “cathedral,” which is the bishop’s home church in his diocese.