L.A. Catholics welcome new archbishop

Yesterday marked the start of a changing of the guard at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  Current Cardinal Roger Mahony, who has held the position for 25 years, will retire next February at the age of 75, blogdowntown reports. He will turn the country’s biggest Roman Catholic archdiocese over to 58-year-old Jose H. Gomez, who was chosen by the Pope to succeed him.

Gomez, who was born in Monterrey, Mexico, previously served five years as the archbishop of San Antonio, Texas.

You can read more about his background in a two-part series put together by the Los Angeles Times.

At a two-hour Mass in front of thousands of worshipers and priests, the two religious leaders exchanged banters and prayers, with Gomez quipping that the audience got “two homilies for the price of one. And it’s free. It’s a good deal.” The Mass was streamed live on the Archdiocese of San Antonio’s Web site.

Later, as the Times reports, Mahony told Gomez that “church rules demand that the ceremonial throne for the prelate ‘must be fitting,’” and invited him to try it out.

“A bemused Gomez approached the large wooden chair, began to sit, hesitated, looked askance, then finally plopped down. ‘It’s kind of big,’ he said, ‘but I think I can make it.’”

As archbishop, Gomez will likely have to confront issues regarding immigration policy.  Like his predecessor, he made his stance clear, telling parishioners that God doesn’t see strangers and that “no one is an alien for any of us,” a sentiment he repeated in Spanish.

He praised L.A.‘s diversity, saying, “In the community of cultures here in Los Angeles, we can see what it means to say that our church is ‘catholic,’” – that is, universal.

Gomez will serve with Mahony until Mahony’s retirement.

Speak Your Mind