.- Archbishop Jose Gomez was officially welcomed at a Rite of Reception Mass in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Wednesday, a move that begins his ministry within the southern California community.
Archbishop Gomez, currently the Coadjutor Archbishop of the L.A. Archdiocese, will succeed Cardinal Roger Mahony, who will retire at the age of 75 in February of next year.
An estimated 4,000 people, including 59 bishops and 411 priests, attended the multilingual celebration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.
When Cardinal Mahony introduced Archbishop Gomez at the beginning of the Mass, the archbishop was greeted by a standing ovation. Among those present at the ceremony were Cardinal Justin Regali of Philadelphia and Cardinal William Leveda.
Cardinal Mahony opened his homily by focusing on the day's Gospel reading, where Christ tells St. Peter, “upon this rock, I will build my Church.”
“It is Jesus himself who is the cornerstone of God's plan of salvation in every age,” the cardinal emphasized. “He is ever at work building up his Church. Jesus alone is the supreme shepherd of the flock.”
“Today we recognize that Jesus is present in our midst as when he commissioned Peter,” he noted. “ As I near the end of my time of tending this corner of the vineyard, the shepherd's staff is being passed to Archbishop Gomez.”
“Mahony goes, Gomez comes, but Christ alone endures.”
During his homily, Cardinal Mahony also praised the leadership of Archbishop Gomez and implored him to focus his efforts on increasing the number of priests and consecrated men and women within the archdiocese.
After the homily, Sister Mary Elizabeth Galt, chancellor of the Archdiocese, presented the Apostolic Letter from Rome announcing the archbishop's appointment.
Cardinal Mahony formally accepted the letter, and asked the congregation if they were willing to accept Archbishop Gomez, to which they replied, “We are.”
Following Communion, Archbishop Gomez addressed the congregation, speaking of his pleasure at being in Los Angeles. Switching fluidly between English and Spanish, Archbishop Gomez tearfully accepted the warm welcome and entrusted his ministry to Our Lady of Guadalupe.