Archive of December 29, 2004

Pope Appoints Bishop Gomez to Archbishop of San Antonio

Denver, Colo., Dec 29, 2004 (CNA) - The Vatican announced today that the Most Reverend Jose Gomez, the first auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Denver since 1984, will soon be elevated to Archbishop of San Antonio in Texas. Bishop Gomez has served as auxiliary Bishop of Denver since his appointment in 2001. The 53-year-old Monterrey, Mexico native came to Denver from Texas where he served in both Houston and San Antonio for 14 years.

According to the Archdiocese of Denver, “Bishop Gomez has distinguished himself as a respected national leader among Hispanic priests in the United States. In 1991 Bishop Gomez became a regional representative of the National Association of Hispanic Priests, followed by president in 1995 and then executive director from 1999-2001.”

In 2003, Bishop Gomez was awarded the National Association of Hispanic Priest’s “El Buen Pastor” award for his excellence in Hispanic ministry.

He currently sits on numerous committees in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops including the Committee on Hispanic Affairs, Committee on Doctrine and is chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on the Spanish Language Bible for the Church in America.  In addition, Gomez has served as the leader of the Texas region of Opus Dei, a lay movement in the Church and currently serves as moderator of the curia in the Archdiocese of Denver and pastor of a local parish.

Gomez, who made headlines in Denver in 2001 by becoming the first Hispanic Bishop of Denver, now moves to the 644,357-member Archdiocese of San Antonio which is reported to be almost 90 percent Hispanic.

With his appointment, Gomez succeeds retiring Archbishop Patrick Flores who reached the retirement age of 75 on July 26th.

In a speech Bishop Gomez made this morning at the chancery in San Antonio, he commented that he “is not a stranger here.” He explained that, because of his years in Texas prior to his appointment in Denver and the familial ties of his mother and grandparents to San Antonio, that, “I do know the Church here, because it helped to form me. Coming to San Antonio really is, in a sense, coming home.”

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Largest Provincial Archdiocese in the World to be Split

San Antonio, Texas, Dec 29, 2004 (CNA) - As the Archdiocese of San Antonio prepares to receive a new shepherd, the Vatican announced today that the Archdiocese, which provincially oversees more dioceses than any other in the world, will now be split in two.

According to the Church’s Code of Canon Law, “Neighboring particular churches [or diocese] are to be brought together into ecclesiastical province”. The Archdiocese of San Antonio currently oversees all 15 of those dioceses in the state of Texas, making it the largest ecclesiastical province in the world. This changes with the Vatican’s announcement today, however, as the Church elevates the diocese of Galveston-Houston to a metropolitan Archdiocese thus shouldering some of the load.

While this change will not alter the current diocesan borders, it will make Texas the only U.S. state beside California to have two provinces within it. Currently, Houston is the largest city in the nation, which isn’t the center of an Archdiocese. It is also the 4th largest city in the nation and Texas’ oldest Catholic diocese.

Dioceses which will now fall under the jurisdiction of the new Galveston-Houston Archdiocese, include Austin, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Tyler and Victoria in Texas.

With this announcement, Pope John Paul II now elevates Bishop Joseph Anthony Fiorenza to Archbishop of the 1,006,425-member Archdiocese and likewise elevates Bishop Daniel Nicholas Dinardo to coadjutor of the new Archdiocese.

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Bishop Gomez Bids an Emotional Farewell to Archdiocese of Denver

Denver, Colo., Dec 29, 2004 (CNA) - Amid an appointment from Pope John Paul II this morning to become Archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Bishop Jose Gomez of Denver gave an emotional farewell in his weekly column in today’s Denver Catholic Register.

Bishop Gomez thanked the people of the Archdiocese of Denver for their generosity, simplicity, devotion and love for the Church.” He remarked in the column that he’d “been evangelized again and again” by those he’d met across the Archdiocese.

Gomez will become Archbishop of San Antonio, succeeding Archbishop Patrick Flores who reached the episcopal retirement age of 75 in July.

Although he expressed sadness at leaving Denver, he now looks forward with “gratitude and excitement” to his new appointment in San Antonio. Gomez stated that he “had always been struck by the greatness of the Catholic community in San Antonio, nourished by a rich ecclesial history, and always pressing forward to a promising future.” The new Archbishop has deep roots in San Antonio where he spent a number of years before coming to Denver in 2001. It is, according to Gomez, “a city where my mother-now in heaven-grew up and where the Lord led me to spend my first years as a priest in the United States.”

In a speech Gomez delivered in San Antonio this morning, he thanked Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver for, “teaching me how to be a bishop with the example if his humor, patience, and tremendous love for the Church.” He continued, “ I’ll always be grateful to the priests and people of the Archdiocese of Denver, who prepared me for this new life I begin today.”

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