First Nashville, then Rome.
Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo will be piling up frequent flier miles over the next few weeks thanks to his fellow priests.
Pope Benedict XVI announced earlier this week that Kmiec's theology school classmate and longtime friend Archbishop William J. Levada will be inducted into the College of Cardinals. Kmiec plans to fly to Rome for the ceremony in late March.
Levada and Kmiec attended Gregorian University in Rome together in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They both were ordained to the priesthood in St. Peter's Basilica on Dec. 2, 1961.
This weekend, Kmiec is headed back to his former diocese to participate in the installation of a new bishop.
The pope in December selected the Rev. David R. Choby, a Nashville priest, to serve as the 11th bishop of Nashville. Kmiec was bishop there for nearly 12 years before being installed in Buffalo in 2004.
He will concelebrate Choby's installation Mass on Monday in the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville, along with Archbishop Thomas Kelly of Louisville, Ky., and Bishop James Niedergeses, Kmiec's predecessor in Nashville.
Kmiec will return to Buffalo in time to celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass in St. Joseph's Cathedral.
His flight to Rome later this month has not yet been arranged, said diocesan spokesman Kevin A. Keenan.
The pontiff tapped Levada, former head of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, last May to succeed him as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office chiefly responsible for examining doctrinal questions and analyzing theological opinions.
Levada became the first American to hold such a high office in the Roman Curia. A total of 15 prelates, including another American, Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston, will be created cardinals in a consistory on March 24.
They will then become part of the College of Cardinals, the team of high-ranking church prelates who cast votes in a papal election.