The Transition Begins
Meanwhile, on his blog, Mahony rejoices:
When our Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, informed me that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, had appointed Archbishop José Gomez to serve as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles, I was so grateful to God for this gift of a Hispanic Archbishop....and for his part, the Coadjutor-elect is overwhelmed:
I welcome Archbishop Gomez to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with enthusiasm and personal excitement. The Auxiliary Bishops and I are looking forward to working closely with him over the coming months until he becomes the Archbishop early in 2011.
During the process to select a new Archbishop, I urged that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles deserved to have a Hispanic as the next Archbishop. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic Diocese or Archdiocese in the United States....
I have known Archbishop Gomez since he became Auxiliary Bishop of Denver in 2001, and subsequently, the Archbishop of San Antonio in 2004. Over the years he has been a most effective leader working with priests serving the Spanish-speaking communities across the country, and his leadership in proclaiming the dignity and rights of our immigrant peoples has helped motivate many people to advocate for our immigrants.
Some may conclude that since Archbishop Gomez was ordained a priest of Opus Dei he must be “conservative.” In fact, these labels of “conservative” and “liberal” are really unhelpful in the life of the Church. We are all called to a deep relationship with Jesus Christ, and I can attest that both of us share a common commitment to Christ and to the Church, and that both of us are interested in promoting the teachings of the Church fully as well as bringing the words and example of Christ to today’s society and world. I consider ourselves to share an equal commitment to the continued growth of the Church here in Los Angeles.
I hope you’ll forgive me if my comments are brief. This is the kind of moment that for me, words cannot fully describe my feelings.And lastly, from the place where Jose Gomez first came to national prominence and his episcopal ministry began, his mentor praises the Pope's selection as the "perfect choice" to lead the nation's largest local church.
I’m very grateful to the Holy Father for giving me this opportunity to serve the Church with a mentor and leader like Cardinal Roger Mahony. I’m grateful to the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, for supporting the Holy Father’s confidence in me. I will try with all my strength to earn that trust.
I’m especially grateful -- very deeply grateful -- to Cardinal Mahony himself and to my brother bishops, priests and deacons here in Los Angeles, for the warmth and good will they’ve shown me since learning of my appointment.
After I received the news of my appointment, I went to the Chapel to spend some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. I asked for the grace to be generous and to give myself totally to God’s call. But I also asked for the strength to accept this new task, which is undoubtedly overwhelming. My only consolation is the fact that God is calling me and He is merciful and will help me to be faithful and to serve His people in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles....
I’ll never forget that as I finished my phone conversation with Archbishop Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, the first thing I saw was a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the hallway and, as it has happened in every moment of my ministry, I felt Her love and protection. To Mary of Guadalupe, I would like to entrust my new ministry in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles....
The life of a priest or bishop is not his own. The only real home we have is in the love of our people. And that love is the same everywhere people believe in Jesus Christ and come together as a faithful Catholic community. So I know that God will give me the grace to serve this local Church well, as Cardinal Mahony has done for so many fruitful years. The warmth of the people here gives life to the words we so often hear: we aren’t really strangers here, but only friends who haven’t met.
When I was collecting my thoughts for today, I wrote down that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is one of the great Catholic communities in the United States. But it’s really much more than that. It’s one of the great Catholic communities in the world. Los Angeles, like no other city in the world, has the global face of the Catholic Church.
That fact invites us to do two things: first, to thank God for our diversity and the energy it creates; and second, to commit ourselves more deeply to the things that unite us – a zeal for Jesus Christ; confidence in the Gospel; reverence for the Eucharist; service to the poor; defense of the unborn child, the immigrant and the disabled; and a love for the Church as our mother and teacher.
These are the things that have purified and renewed the Church in every generation. And being with all of you now as part of Cardinal Mahony’s ministry is the greatest gift I’ve received in my life next to the priesthood itself.