And despite the "challenging year" for both the Church and for the rest of the world, Gomez reminded the bishops that a "beautiful moment" had recently been celebrated: the beatification of Michael McGivney.
Bl. McGivney, said Gomez, can serve as "a model and intercessor for our own ministries."
"He was a pastor in a time of moral confusion and social unrest. Just as we are," said Gomez, noting that McGivney was ordained a priest about a decade after the Civil War.
"Like us, he was a priest called to minister in a pandemic. In fact, he gave his life during the flu pandemic of 1890, one of more than 1 million who died worldwide," he said.
When McGivney was ordained, Gomez explained, "it was a time marked by racist violence, anti-immigrant intolerance, widespread poverty, and growing social problems," and there was rampant anti-Catholicism in society.
"Father McGivney met these injustices by living the Gospel," said Gomez. "Love was not an abstraction or a 'cause' for him. The widow and the orphan, the father with no job; the prisoner on death row. Blessed Michael McGivney knew their faces and knew their names."
Since the last assembly, the world has seen months of social unrest, a pandemic, a presidential election, and the release of the long-awaited Vatican investigation into the activities of former cardinal Theodore McCrrick. At the start of his speech, Gomez requested that his brother bishops to "pause to remember all our brothers and sisters who are victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse."
"In light of the Holy See's report on Theodore McCarrick, we again want to express our deep sorrow and pray that they might find healing and hope," he said. "Let us also renew our commitment today to protecting children and vulnerable adults and to eliminating this scourge of abuse from the Church."