.- Last night at the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas, Archbishop Jose Gomez was installed as the first Mexican-born Archbishop in U.S. history. The 53-year old Monterey, Mexico native first made headlines four years ago when he was installed in the Archdiocese of Denver as the U.S.’s first Mexican-born bishop.
Of his time in Colorado, Archbishop Charles Chaput was reported as saying, “I don’t think anyone could have foreseen the impact he had on all of us.”
Apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo installed Gomez on behalf of Pope John Paul II before a full house which included 30 bishops, 2 cardinals, and over 200 priests. Cardinal James Francis Stafford, major penitentiary of the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary was among those in attendance, as was Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima, Peru.
Setting what will likely become a theme for his episcopate, Gomez told those gathered that the Church could no longer afford to argue among itself. “Those days are over”, he said, “The world is changing, and it needs a Catholic witness like never before.”
Gomez spoke passionately about the vocation of the priesthood itself, saying, “Our service is never a job and never a profession. Those are words that describe a hireling, a shepherd who works for pay… our vocation is much more radical than that.”
“A good father”, he continued, “loves without counting the cost. A good husband loves as Jesus loved us from the cross. And a good priest does the same. He leads his people in the truth of Jesus Christ, faithful to the teachings of Christ’s Church and obedient to the needs of the people Jesus died to save.”
Gomez expressed his gratitude to outgoing Archbishop Patrick Flores who served the Archdiocese for 25 years. He added that while he cannot replace Flores, he prays, “for the grace to continue his work and service with the same generosity and dedication and hopefully for many years to come.”
Archbishop Gomez’s installation concluded with a traditional mariachi-style fiesta following the Mass at San Fernando Cathedral.