The two Masses of Transition were celebrated in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, first in English and then in Spanish. My Coat of Arms was taken down, and that of Archbishop Gomez was installed. Archbishop Gomez was then seated in the Cathedra, the Archbishop's official "Chair" in the Cathedral.
Although the official and canonical change of episcopal leadership takes place at 12:01 AM on Tuesday, March 1st, the liturgical transition occurred on Sunday within the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Both Masses were filled to overflowing, and God's People here in Los Angeles were active participants in this historical transition. Sunday was not a day of sadness nor tears; rather, it was a day of joyous hope as we experienced God's plan of salvation being lived out in our midst. "Mahony goes; Gomez comes; but Jesus Christ remains the same"!
I am writing this blog entry at Los Angeles International Airport as I await my plane to Frankfurt, then on to Rome. While I am going to room for meetings with the Pontifical Council on Social Communications, it is also in God's Providence that the day of the transition to our new Archbishop I will be in the Eternal City of Rome. On March 3 I will celebrate a special Mass in St. Peter's for all the wonderful people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
People ask whether I am sad at moving to the new title of "Archbishop Emeritus." Absolutely not. My understanding of the Church is that Jesus Christ remains the heart and center of our Church, and we Bishops come and go down through salvation history. That is why the word "legacy" as applied to Bishops and Archbishops is so far off the mark. We are not called to develop nor to leave "legacies," but rather, to be faithful to Jesus Christ and the Gospels. We accept the Gospel, we try to live it out and to pass it on, and then we move aside so that the Lord might call others to continue the active work in the Vineyard of the Lord.
I look forward to celebrating Masses in our parishes on Sundays, and to working with others across the country to support our immigrant brothers and sisters. There is still so much priestly and pastoral work to do and I embrace that with joy, peace, and enthusiasm.
Please know of my very special prayers for all of you!!!