.- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles says the forthcoming Year of Faith is the best present Pope Benedict could give the Church as he marks his seventh anniversary as pontiff.
âToday we give thanks to God for the election of the Holy Father and are praying for him as we the bright future of his pontificate, especially the Year of Faith which he has called for starting this October,âArchbishop Gomez told CNA April 19.
âIt will be a great opportunity for us Catholics to reflect upon our faith, to try to understand better our faith, because in the end the most important issue we have in our times in the Church is education in the faith.â
The Los Angeles archbishop is in Rome this week on his âad liminaâ visit along with his fellow Californian bishops and the hierarchies of Hawaii, Utah and Nevada. Archbishop Gomez said it a âgreat blessing to physically participate in the celebrations this weekâ beginning with the Popeâs 85th birthday on Monday.
To mark the election of Pope Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005, the Vatican has taken the day off. Tomorrow the Pope will resume his public duties, though, with a meeting with Archbishop Gomez and a delegation of his fellow bishops.
âWe want to share with him the reality of the church in Los Angeles and California how active the people of the archdiocese are in practicing their faith,â said Archbishop Gomez.
He particularly wants to discuss the promotion of vocations the priesthood. The Province of Los Angeles currently has about 200 seminarians which, said Archbishop Gomes, is âa great blessing for our province, the Church in California and the Universal Church.â
The bishops are also looking to hear if the Pope has âsome specific advice or recommendationsâ for the bishops before they go back to California at the weekend.
Upon his return, Archbishop Gomez says he intends work on plans for the Year of Faith, which is slated to begin in October of this year. Already scheduled is the diocesan Guadalupe Festival in August which celebrates devotion to Our Lady and Septemberâs 10th anniversary of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Fundamental for the archbishop, though, is âeducation in the faith.â
âI think as Catholics we all need to know our faith better,â he concluded. âThe more that we know God, the more that we know the life and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, the more that we know about the action of the Holy Spirit, the more we that can love God. And at the end of the day our Christian faith is about loving God.â