At ordination, Denver's new bishop reminded to proclaim Christ

Bishop Jorge Rodriguez Credit Andrew Wright Denver Catholic 2 CNA Bishop Jorge Rodriguez. | Andrew Wright / Denver Catholic.

The reality of evil and the tender mercy of Jesus Christ were on the mind of Denver's new auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez at his ordination Mass.

"Let the words of Jesus penetrate your own heart," Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver said at the Nov. 4 Mass. "Jesus' words are full of tenderness. They are full of compassion. His deepest desire is to reveal the Father to the world."
"May you proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ boldly, in season and out of season, and invite others to his mercy and into the very heart of the Trinity," he told the new bishop.

Pope Francis named Bishop Rodriguez, 61, to be ordained the next auxiliary bishop of Denver. He has served as a priest in the archdiocese for more than 10 years.

Archbishop Aquila consecrated Bishop Rodriguez at Denver's Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, emeritus Archbishop of Denver, and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles were co-consecrators.

Over 200 priests, 10 bishops and one abbot processed into the cathedral for the start of the Mass.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, read Pope Francis' official apostolic letter appointing the bishop to Denver.

In his homily, Archbishop Aquila reflected upon Bishop Rodriguez's chosen motto, from the Virgin Mary's Magnificat: "Mercy from Generation to Generation."

"Learn from our beloved Mother: make a home in your heart for her," the archbishop exhorted. "She was one who understood her unworthiness. She was one who saw herself as a lowly servant. But she was one who had great trust and confidence in God."

Every disciple of Jesus is called to that trust and confidence in God and to proclaim his mercy, the archbishop said. He cited St. Paul's counsel to be fervent in spirit, to persevere in prayer, to rejoice in hope and to exercise hospitality.

"As Jesus continues to pray for us, he prays 'keep them from the evil one'," the archbishop told Bishop Rodriguez.

He said it is important "to understand that evil is real," remembering that Pope Francis speaks frequently about the devil and temptations and "how the evil one works."
"The media certainly does not like the fact that he speaks of evil and the devil, and they mock it and tend to ignore it," Archbishop Aquila said. "But when one looks at the confusion in the world today, when one looks at the advance of the culture of death, of the 'throwaway society' that Pope Francis speaks of, underlining it all is the evil one. He is the one who brings chaos, he is the one who brings confusion, and he is the one who hates the truth."

"The words of Jesus ring true: you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free," he continued. "That truth is a person: Jesus, who identifies himself as the way, the truth and the life."

"You my beloved brother are entrusted as a bishop to invite others to encounter the truth of Jesus Christ," Archbishop Aquila told Bishop Rodriguez.

The new auxiliary bishop was born March 22, 1955 in Mérida, Mexico, in the state of Yucatán, where his family still resides.

Archbishop Aquila said that the new Bishop Rodriguez would be "a tremendous blessing" to the Hispanic community in northern Colorado. More than half of the Catholics in the Archdiocese of Denver are Hispanic. Sixty of the archdiocese's 115 parishes have Mass in Spanish.

At the same time, the archbishop acknowledged the cultural diversity in the archdiocese and the unity of the faith.

"The beauty of the Church is that she is one in Christ, no matter what he culture, no matter what nationality one may be… it is Christ who binds us all together and makes us brothers and sisters to one another," he said.

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Bishop Rodriguez has served as pastor at Holy Cross Parish in Thornton, Colo. since 2014. He is a former professor and vice-rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver.

The future bishop joined the Legionaries of Christ after high school. He was ordained a priest Dec. 24, 1987. He has been a theology professor and dean of the theology department of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome.

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