He said Catholics do not journey alone. Rather, they journey "with each other in the company of a cloud of witnesses that have made that journey before."
The bishop mentioned St. Marianne Cope, a 19th-century Franciscan sister who ministered to the lepers of Hawaii; St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first native North American Indian to be declared a saint; Bl. Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Spanish Franciscan priest who established missions throughout California; and Fr. Augustine Tolton, the first African American to be ordained a priest.
Bishop Vann repeated his emphasis on unity with the words of the early Christian St. Ignatius of Antioch: "The strength of the Church is the unity together of everyone with the office of the bishop."
At the beginning of the installation Mass, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, read an apostolic letter from Pope Benedict XVI which formally appointed Bishop Vann to the diocese. Pope Benedict praised the bishop as "a faithful teacher of God's word."
Archbishop Vigano thanked Bishop Vann for his "generosity in answering the call to serve." He also thanked the retired Bishop Tod Brown for his "many years of dedicated leadership."
Bishop Vann is the oldest of six children. He worked as a medical technologist before entering the seminary in 1976. He was ordained a priest in 1981 and is a specialist in canon law.
He serves as the Vatican's delegate for the special pastoral provision that helps Episcopal and Anglican clergy and laity enter the Catholic Church.
He is a member of both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration and of the conference's Canonical Affairs Committee.
The bishop is fluent in Spanish and Italian and is learning Vietnamese.
There are 1.3 million Catholics in the Diocese of Orange, making up 41 percent of the diocese's population of 3.2 million people. The diocese is the 10th largest in the country and is the fastest growing in the U.S.
Through the work of Bishop Brown, the diocese purchased the 3,000-seat Crystal Cathedral, a glass church built by the retired Protestant televangelist Rev. Robert H. Schuller. The diocese bought the church rather than build a new cathedral. It has renamed the church "Christ Cathedral" and has begun renovations to make it a fitting space for Catholic worship.
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.