The Archdiocese of San Antonio has many things to be thankful for, but on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, Archbishop Jose Gomez was able to give it one more reason to express gratitude, a new dormitory for the seminary.
Present for the dedication of the new building were Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, bishops, priests, seminarians, and the laity.
Speaking of how Christians are called to believe in the Gospel, love and live entirely for God, and have missionary hearts as Mary did, Archbishop Gomez dedicated the new Archbishop Flores Residence Hall.
Archbishop Gomez told Archbishop Flores who was present that, “we’re honored today to name this hall for you. It is a tribute to your tireless efforts to spread the gospel of love, to proclaim the great things of God here in San Antonio.”
He continued, “And I can’t help but recall today the words of one of your favorite saints, St. Rafael Guízar Valencia.”
“St. Rafael said: ‘A bishop can do without the miter, the crosier, and even without the cathedral. But he cannot do without the seminary, since the future of his diocese depends on it.’ I believe these words very much. They are an inspiration for my ministry.”
Gomez also recalled how “the atheist government of Mexico persecuted St. Rafael. How they violently forced him to shut down his seminary in Xalpa in 1921” and that it was “through their sacrifices and ministry they helped keep the faith alive in a very dark time.”
Archbishop Gomez said that the Church faces a different type of situation in our country now, which is no less dangerous. “[T]he faith is seriously threatened by our society’s growing indifference to spiritual values. Our culture no longer understands the values of the gospel. And that means it can’t understand the supreme gift of the priesthood. It’s sad to say, but in our culture it simply doesn’t make any sense that a bright and talented man would want to leave behind the promise of career and family to dedicate his life to Jesus Christ.”
In the midst of this culture, “Assumption Seminary is a sign of contradiction”. And a great sign of hope. We have 90 seminarians—33 from San Antonio alone,” said the archbishop. He continued, “[m]y brothers, you are a testimony to the working of the Holy Spirit in America in this new century!”
The archbishop drew inspiration from the late Pope John Paul II who said that “the Church in San Antonio has a very special calling that flows from our history as ‘crossroads’ and ‘a meeting of cultures, indigenous and immigrant’ from every part of the world.”
“I’m proud to say that Assumption Seminary is a pioneer in preparing men to meet that special calling—to proclaim God’s mercy and reconciliation in a society that is both bilingual and multicultural. We are forming strong, prayerful, and virtuous men who have an intimate knowledge and friendship with Jesus Christ.”
As he closed his address, Archbishop Gomez offered a special word of thanks to God noting that August 15 is “very special to me because it is the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. I thank God Almighty and Our Lady of Guadalupe for the great privilege and joy of my vocation. And I thank you for sharing with me in this special celebration of the Eucharist.”