.- Catholics in the Archdiocese of Denver welcomed their new archbishop with enthusiasm and hope for the future following his July 18 Installation Mass.
“I am thrilled and overjoyed with the appointment of Archbishop Aquila,” Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley of Denver told CNA in July 17 interview.
Bishop Conley, who served as Denver's Apostolic Administrator for nearly a year, said he is looking forward to serving Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila in his new role.
“I consider him a friend and admire him for what he has done in Fargo,” he said, “so I am really excited (to be) serving with him and continue serving the people of Colorado.”
On July 18, Archbishop Aquila was officially installed as the shepherd of Catholics in the Denver archdiocese at the Basilica Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The ceremony drew hundreds of people, including local politicians, 400 priests, 40 bishops, Cardinal James F. Stafford, and papal representative Archbishop Carlo M. Vigano.
Monsignor Thomas S. Fryar, who serves as the pastor of the cathedral and as vicar general for the archdiocese, said having a new archbishop has caused “wonderful joy within the community.”
Archbishop Aquila filled the vacancy left by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who was named by Pope Benedict XVI to lead the Philadelphia archdiocese last fall.
“I think we can expect that the good initiatives that began under Archbishop Chaput and Cardinal Stafford will continue and flourish,” Bishop Conley said.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who was previously an auxiliary bishop in Denver, described the experience of seeing his “personal friend” become the head of the archdiocese as “a great joy.”
“I know he is going to serve well (for) the people in the Archdiocese of Denver,” he said.
Bishop Paul D. Eitenne of Cheyenne, Wyo. said he is glad to have Archbishop Aquila “back out to the West,” but especially back in Denver, which is home to over half a million Catholics.
Cara Ryhne, a consecrated laywoman in the Marian Community of Recollection, said that Archbishop Aquilla “can count on prayers and friendship” from her community.
“We want to work together with you to be a light here in Denver and to bring the Lord Jesus to all,” she said.
Seminarian Josh Meier said that he and his fellow classmates at the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary are “excited to be under new leadership.”
“We are excited to have someone that knows the seminary,” Meier said of Archbishop Aquila, who served as the first rector of the seminary from 1999 to 2001.
His installation, which makes him the fifth archbishop and the eighth bishop to lead Denver, is especially important to the hundreds of clergy in the area, according to local Catholic Peggy Tynan.
“I am very excited for our priests to have such a loving father,” she said, “and excited for what is in store for them.”