Tuesday, April 6, 2010



When our Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, informed me that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, had appointed Archbishop José Gomez to serve as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles, I was so grateful to God for this gift of a Hispanic Archbishop.

I welcome Archbishop Gomez to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with enthusiasm and personal excitement. The Auxiliary Bishops and I are looking forward to working closely with him over the coming months until he becomes the Archbishop early in 2011.

During the process to select a new Archbishop, I urged that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles deserved to have a Hispanic as the next Archbishop. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic Diocese or Archdiocese in the United States.

The first four Bishops of the Los Angeles territory were Hispanic Bishops[1], to be followed by five Bishops/Archbishops of Irish descent[2], and myself of German and Italian background[3].

I have known Archbishop Gomez since he became Auxiliary Bishop of Denver in 2001, and subsequently, the Archbishop of San Antonio in 2004. Over the years he has been a most effective leader working with priests serving the Spanish-speaking communities across the country, and his leadership in proclaiming the dignity and rights of our immigrant peoples has helped motivate many people to advocate for our immigrants.

Some may conclude that since Archbishop Gomez was ordained a priest of Opus Dei he must be “conservative.” In fact, these labels of “conservative” and “liberal” are really unhelpful in the life of the Church. We are all called to a deep relationship with Jesus Christ, and I can attest that both of us share a common commitment to Christ and to the Church, and that both of us are interested in promoting the teachings of the Church fully as well as bringing the words and example of Christ to today’s society and world. I consider ourselves to share an equal commitment to the continued growth of the Church here in Los Angeles.

Archbishop Gomez also shares with me a determined effort to make our Church safe for all people, but especially, for children and young people. I look forward to working closely with him to make certain that all our Safeguard the Children programs are fully implemented across the Archdiocese.

Our Archdiocesan Synod concluded in 2003 by establishing six Pastoral Initiatives, the first being a renewed sense of evangelization among our Catholic community. Archbishop Gomez recently wrote two important articles on this topic. The first was entitled Evangelization, Education and the Hispanic Catholic Future[4] in 2009. The second was entitled You Will Be My Witnesses: Pastoral Letter on Evangelization[5] issued in 2010. Both of these pastoral letters will apply well to the Local Church of Los Angeles, and place us on course for a more dynamic outreach to all peoples in the name of Jesus Christ.

During this Year for Priests, Archbishop Gomez published last fall a book entitled Men of Brave Heart: The Virtue of Courage in the Priestly Life.[6]

Archbishop Gomez is the Chair-elect of the Committee on Migrants and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and will take the leadership in moving the Church’s efforts forward to bring about a more comprehensive immigration reform in our Congress. I eagerly look forward to working directly with him on this important priority of the Church in our country.

There is an interesting link and bond between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Archdiocese of San Antonio. In 1934, Father Robert E. Lucey of Los Angeles was consecrated as the Bishop of Amarillo, Texas. In 1940, Bishop Lucey became the Archbishop of San Antonio where he worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor and Hispanics. In 1953, a year before the Supreme Court ruling on desegregation in the public schools, Archbishop Lucey integrated all of the Catholic schools in his jurisdiction. He became the executive chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for the Spanish Speaking, and helped to focus the Church’s attention upon all of those immigrants across our country who needed the Church’s voice on their behalf.

To you, Archbishop Gomez, I not only extend the most warm and cordial bienvenida, but I also ask you to experience and appreciate the wonderful, dynamic Local Church of Los Angeles. As the Archdiocese of Los Angeles continues to grow over the coming year, it is our mutual challenge to deepen the faith life of all our Catholics and to assist them in witnessing their faith to all of their brothers and sisters.

I again welcome you with my eager enthusiasm as I complete my service as the Archbishop of Los Angeles in 2011, and you assume that role for the coming years.

Mass of Reception of the Coadjutor Archbishop: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 2:00 PM in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

For more information,
please link to: http://coadjutor.la-archdiocese.org

[1] The first Bishop of Both Californias [Alta and Baja] was the Most Rev. Francis Garcia Diego y Moreno, O.F.M., who served from 1840 to 1846 when he died. The second Bishop was the Most Rev. Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P., who served from 1850 to 1853 when he was appointed the first Archbishop of San Francisco. The third Bishop was the Most Rev. Thaddeus Amat, C.M., who served from 1854 to 1878. The fourth Bishop was the Most Rev. Francis Mora who was the coadjutor Bishop to Bishop Amat and who served from 1873 to 1896 when he resigned.
The Most Rev. George Montgomery was appointed coadjutor Bishop in 1894, and succeeded in 1896. He was appointed coadjutor Archbishop of San Francisco in 1903. The Most Rev. Thomas James Conaty served as Bishop from 1903 to 1915. Bishop John J. Cantwell served as Bishop from 1917 until 1947 when he died; in 1936, Los Angeles was raised to the dignity of an Archdiocese. The Most Rev. James Francis McIntyre served from 1948 to 1970 when he resigned; he was created the first Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles in 1953. The Most Rev. Timothy Manning was named coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles in 1969, and succeeded in 1970; he was created the second Cardinal in 1973, and retired in 1985.
The Most Rev. Roger Mahony was installed as Archbishop in 1985, and created a Cardinal in 1991. He will retire in 2011.

[4] Origins, August 13, 2009, Volume 39, Number 11, pages 185 to 189.

[5] Origins, March 11, 2010, Volume 39, Number 39, pages 634 to 642.

[6] Archbishop José Gomez, Men of Brave Heart: The Virtue of Courage in the Priestly Life (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Press, 2009)