Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Archbishop's First Day

Settling into the role for which he's had two years to prepare, Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston made the unprecedented move of taping a video statement exclusively for the archdiocesan website.

(And his new coat of arms has been revealed as well.)

DiNardo, 56, who became head of the US' tenth largest diocese this morning upon the retirement of Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, noted that he's no newcomer to the area."I've been around in Galveston-Houston for almost two years now," he said, "and have had the joy and privilege of visiting almost 115 of the 160 parishes which make up this great local church," while acknowledging that "there are many, many more [of the faithful] whom I have yet the privilege to meet."

Praising the archdiocese's composition of a local church "almost like the United Nations," the new chief shepherd of Galveston-Houston's 1 million-plus Catholics also sees that diversity "as a great challenge... a real challenge."

DiNardo was able to make a rare statement for an American hierarch in stating that the challenges of the archdiocese "are challenges of growth." He reassured parishioners that they "aren't going to see too many changes" at the parish level, going on to state that "in the administrative offices, you might see one or two changes."

"But in general," DiNardo continued, "I really prefer continuity.

"After all, those people who have worked with Archbishop Fiorenza in our administrative offices have are the ones who have the wisdom and have taken on the responsibility that has seen that our growth has been done so well." He expressed his hope that he would be "a really good and true shepherd," asking for prayers to that end.

As a former staffer of the Congregation for Bishops, the new head of the American South's largest local church knows the ways of Rome and can be expected to use that aecumen in his new post, both within the archdiocese and, given the influence of metropolitans in episcopal appointments, beyond it.

Archbishop DiNardo will receive his pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on 29 June in Rome, the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston