THE FASTEST YEAR IN MY LIFE
By Monsignor JOSÉ GOMEZ, Archbishop of Los Angeles
It was during the annual Holy Mass for Cultures last September.
I looked around at all the beautiful diversity of nationalities and ethnic groups, all gathered to worship Jesus Christ. And I thought to myself: I am not in San Antonio anymore!
This has been a year of grace for me. And this year has gone by faster than any year in my life. This week, on May 26, I marked the first anniversary of my Mass of Reception here.
I said during that Mass, that being your Archbishop is not a future I could have ever imagined for myself! Our God truly is un Dios de sorpresas — a God of surprises, as well as a God of blessings and tender mercies!
I am grateful to all of you for opening your hearts and making me feel so welcome. I have fallen in love with this region and its people.
I don’t think I have ever traveled so much in a car in a single year! I have been to all 20 deaneries covering the almost 9,000 square miles that make up our great Archdiocese.
Right now, I am visiting many parishes to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation with our young people. This is a beautiful privilege. We have so many young men and women who love their Catholic faith and want to live it. I come home from these celebrations filled with joy and hope.
There have been many highlights in my first year. I’ve done things I’ve never done before. Like the Blessing of the Animals on Holy Saturday at La Placita.
The Religious Education Congress in March was amazing. What energy and liveliness I felt during those three days!
It was a blessing to celebrate the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II. And my first Chrism Mass with my brother bishops and priests was also a very special moment of grace for me.
In a much different way, I was moved to be able to celebrate the vigil liturgy for Passion Sunday at St. John Vianney parish in Hacienda Heights — just a day after the tragic fire destroyed their church.
I feel privileged to celebrate Holy Mass every Sunday with you in our beautiful cathedral.
Every day I am amazed by this great Archdiocese. The Church here is really what the Church is meant to be — una familia de Dios. One family of God drawn from every country, race and language.
We are a Church that is in the heart of a metropolis, a city of the world, with all the diversity of languages, religions, cultures and lifestyles.
In the past year I have come to see more clearly that we have a special mission of evangelization here in this metropolis — to make Los Angeles a city of love and truth.
A city of love and truth is a city where the love of God is shown in the respect for human life from conception to natural death. It is a city where we live together as brothers and sister and help take care of our neighbors in need.
I have identified five pastoral priorities: education in the faith; promoting vocations; fostering the cultural diversity in the Church; proclaiming the Gospel of life; and defending the natural institutions of marriage and the family.
Each of these priorities is a part of building the city of love and truth. And this is a challenge that each of us must take up.
Our forebears in Southern California were migrants and missionaries. The Gospel was being proclaimed here in the Spanish tongue long before this land was made a nation — long before there was a White House or a Wall Street. It is our turn now to proclaim that Gospel to the men and women of our world today.
Our Catholic faith is a beautiful gift. And we are called to share it.
Jesus Christ asks us to cherish this life we’ve been given, to live it with joy. He asks us to the love the people he puts in our lives. And he asks us to share our love for him and to tell the world the good news about him.
In my remarks at my reception Mass last year, I said: “There is no soul that God does not long to touch with this message of his love! And he wants to touch those souls through us.”
Please pray for me this week as I enter my second year in Los Angeles. And I will continue to pray for you every day.
Let us ask our patroness, Our Lady of the Angels, to obtain for us the grace we all need — to do everything out of love for God and love for our brothers and sisters. VN