.- As Bishop Oscar Cantú prepared to become the youngest Catholic bishop in the United States and San Antonio’s newest auxiliary bishop, Archbishop José H. Gomez presided over a vespers prayer service June 1 at San Fernando Cathedral.
During the ceremony, 41-year-old Bishop Cantú made a profession of faith and took an oath of fidelity. He professed his faith in all the truths the church teaches and promised his fidelity to the Holy Father and to the universal church. He promised to give special attention to his co-workers in ministry, the priests, deacons and religious in the archdiocese. Finally, he promised to promote the dignity of the lay faithful.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Archbishop Gomez blessed Bishop Cantú’s ring, miter and crosier that he wears as signs of his episcopal ministry.
Bishop Cantú was ordained auxiliary bishop the following day, June 2, at St. Mark the
In his homily, Archbishop Gomez, the principal consecrator of the celebration, called the episcopal ordination a moment of great significance in the life and history of the Lord’s church.
“But it is also something deeply person,” the archbishop explained. “I’m sure my brother bishops here tonight share my experience – that our ordination to the episcopacy was a definitive moment in our lives. I am touched by moving memories of my ordination.”
Archbishop Gomez said that Pope Benedict reminded the bishops during his U.S. visit that their mission is to promote the encounter with the living God. “This becomes your mission now too my brother,” the archbishop told Bishop Cantú. “It is first given to the apostles. Through my hands, the Holy Spirit will anoint you preacher, apostle, and teacher.”
“Take courage, my brother!” proclaimed Archbishop Gomez. “You must answer our Lord’s call with Christian valor. You are not being given a spirit of fear or timidity. You will receive a spirit of power and love. The power and strength of God. This is the flame, the gift of God, you must keep. And what is this power, my brother? It is the power of the cross.”
Following his homily, Archbishop Gomez proclaimed the prayer of consecration. Then the archbishop and the two co-consecrating bishops placed their hands on Bishop Cantú, followed by Cardinal DiNardo and all of the attending bishops and archbishops. Next the new bishop’s head was anointed with holy chrism.
Archbishop Gomez then presented Bishop Cantú with the Book of the Gospels and other symbols of his office. With the words, “Receive this ring, the seal of fidelity: adorned with undefiled faith, preserve umblemished the bride of God, the holy church.” Bishop Cantú then received his episcopal ring, followed by his miter, and the crosier.
Near the conclusion of the celebration, Bishop Cantú addressed the congregation.
“The history of the Archdiocese of San Antonio is one that involves a strong Catholic presence in this geographical region, and the fruits of the church’s missions are still evident today,” said the auxiliary bishop.
In 1836, he explained, most Texas Catholics were Hispanic, while a smaller but significant number were Irish. “These demographics seem not to have changed much in San Antonio,” Bishop Cantu said to laughter from attendees. “Now as I come to San Antonio to serve as auxiliary bishop, I am deeply humbled that my personal history has somewhat mirrored the history of the church in Texas.”
“I ask for you prayers,” he told the congregation, “That I may carry out my ministry in truth and compassions, and that I might continue to model my life on the example of
Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.”
Article provided courtesy of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. It will be printed in the June 6th edition of Today’s Catholic.