Friday, May 28, 2010

"Our Mission is the Mission of Christ"

Lest anyone didn't catch it on the webstream, the text of Archbishop José Gomez's closing remarks from Wednesday's Mass of Welcome (video/photos) finally emerged earlier today.

With the LA coadjutor's unscripted comments transcribed in, here's the talk in full (formatwise, the brackets represent English translations from the Spanish where the two didn't identically overlap)....
My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

I am humbled by this beautiful welcome, this joyful celebration of the holy Eucharist. [Thank you for such a beautiful welcome!]

I was thinking that one thing you get in a ceremony like this is two homilies for the same price -- and actually that's for free, so it's a good deal.

Cardinal Levada: I am so grateful for your presence. Thank you. When you return to Rome please convey my filial gratitude to the Holy Father for the confidence he has shown in me. Please tell him that I will work with all my heart to be worthy of his trust. Let him know also that we love him and that he is in our prayers always!

I want to thank all the cardinals and my brother bishops who are here. My brothers, I am touched that you have come to be with me on this important day in my life and ministry.

Your presence is a sign that our Catholic Church is founded on the apostles and is alive in our ministry as successors to the mission entrusted to them by Jesus Christ.

Yet every one of us here today in this glorious cathedral is a co-worker who has responsibility for this gran misión of the Church. Our mission is the mission of Christ—to proclaim the Good News that this world has a Savior; that the love of God is stronger than sin and death.

Cardinal Mahony, mi hermano y mi amigo Rogelio, I am honored to be your Coadjutor Archbishop. I come to serve and to follow Jesus Christ. I come to listen and to learn from you and to continue the work you have begun in this historic vineyard of the Lord.

Already I can see how the seeds you have sown over these past twenty-five years are bearing good fruit.

I’m starting to witness how bishops, priests, and deacons; religious, consecrated, and lay people in all walks of life—are serving bodies and souls, hearts and minds in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

You are building faith and family and friendship. Serving Christ in the least of our brothers and sisters. Preaching and teaching and celebrating the sacraments. Defending the freedom and dignity of the human person, from conception to natural death, especially of those who have no one to help them and no one to speak for them. In so many ways making a rich contribution to the fabric of this society.

The Church here in Los Angeles is a community of truth and love. It is a sign that our Church is one—united in love to Christ, alive with his Spirit, striving so that the Father’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

May this Church always be a sign that God is with us, and that in his loving eyes no one is a stranger for Him and no one is an alien to any of us! [All of us are children of God!]

In the communion of cultures here in Los Angeles we can see what it means to say that our Church is “catholic.” In this beautiful diversity we glimpse something of what God desires for the whole world.

We see how God longs to gather all men and women into una familia de Dios, one family drawn from every country, race, and language; stretching to the ends of the earth and into heaven above.

My sisters and brothers, I have so much to learn about this extraordinary family that God has gathered here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I have only just begun and I’m going to need your prayers and assistance, your counsel and guidance -- and most of all, your patience.

Now, allow me to say a few words to my brother priests. You are at the frontlines of this great drama of salvation. You are men of God and men of brave heart, and the bishops’ first collaborators in the apostolic work of the Church.

In your ministries you are the presence of Christ, bringing God to people and people to God. You show them the compassion of the Father who seeks to carry them home—no matter how far away they might have strayed from the paths he intended for their lives.

Brothers, my priesthood is the joy of my life and I’m humbled to be able to minister alongside you. I’m eager to get to know each of you and the people you serve.

I still cannot believe I am here, my friends! This is awesome! This is not a future I could have ever imagined for myself. But this God we serve is a God of surprises—un Dios de sorpresas—as well as a God of blessings and tender mercies!

So let us pray to the good God: that he will stir the hearts of all his faithful, so that they will respond generously to his calling in their lives. Let us pray that many will answer his call to be priests, to be deacons, to be religious brothers and sisters, to be married men and women, or to live a consecrated life in one of the many movements and ecclesial communities.

Recently, a good friend told me about one of the local unknown saints here, Maria Luisa de la Peña, a refugee from Mexico who founded the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles.

Venerable Mother Luisita would tell everyone: “For greater things you were born!”

That’s it, my friends! That’s the good news we are called to proclaim to our city, to our country, throughout this continent and world. [For great things we were born!]

Each of us has been made for love and for great and beautiful things. There is no soul that God does not long to touch with this message of his love! And he wants to touch those souls through us.

So let us make our lives something beautiful that we can we can offer to God. Let us do everything, even the littlest duties of our days, out of love for him and for the love of our brothers and sisters.

I ask your prayers for me. And I pledge you my life and my love. I promise to always be your servant and a servant of the Word of God, la Palabra de Dios, the Gospel that we all believe in.

Finally, I’ve been thinking a lot about my family in these days. My sisters and their husbands are here today from Monterrey, and so are other members of my family and friends that are family too. I wish my mother and father could have been here to see this day. But I feel their presence among the saints and angels.

(I said the other day that if I speak English with an accent, it's my fault, because my mother wanted me to learn English, and I refused to do it. So it's a good lesson for all of us to always obey our mothers! But if I cry, it is my mother's fault.)

I grew up in a Catholic home where ordinary life was filled with simple love and devotion. Through the love I felt in my family, I came to know Jesus Christ and his love for me.

The prayers and support of my family and friends, my spiritual family, have helped me throughout my priesthood and in the last few years in my ministry as Bishop. I am grateful to them beyond words [but I offer them my prayers and affection].

[My parents likewise taught us that we have a Mother in Heaven, Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus: our most beloved mother Guadalupe, who always cares for us.]

To her, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and to her loving heart, I entrust all of us and my ministry to you.

Thank you all for your kind welcome! ¡Muchisimas gracias a todos!
Asked for his reaction on the way out, a random concelebrant summed up his reaction in a distinctly local way.

"We're moving forward, baby," he said, "Bright days ahead."

And, well, you couldn't have asked for a better capper than that.