Bishop Sevilla: Final Letter to Archbishop Quinn

Bishop Sevilla: Final Letter to Archbishop Quinn

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By Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, S.J.

Editor’s Note: Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, S.J., is the retired Bishop of Yakima, Washington. A native of San Francisco, Bishop Sevilla was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1989 by Archbishop Quinn. Bishop Sevilla now resides at the Jesuit Community at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose.

Dear Archbishop Quinn,
Despite the many months that you were so gravely ill, it was a shock to learn of your death when that news reached me before noon on June 22 because you really seemed to be getting significantly better during the previous week or so.

I have a number of memories of you that I treasure because you were such a good friend in the years I served as your auxiliary bishop and also because you were a very important key in my learning on a day to day basis how to be a bishop. Two memories from those years especially come to mind now. Let me share them with you because those incidents will remain with me always.

First, when you asked me to drive you around San Francisco a day or two after the 1989 earthquake. It was rather late in the evening and you thought it very important to be in the neighborhoods where the damage was most severe and the people who had to evacuate their homes were living in temporary shelters and in need of Christ’s compassion and loving support.

There was still danger from possible aftershocks, but you insisted on being with them as their untiring shepherd.

Second, when you decided to retire as Archbishop of San Francisco some years before the usual retirement age. Your years of ministry as Archbishop of San Francisco were especially challenging and you realized that the people of the Archdiocese would be better served by a new shepherd. That taught me that we are bishops not for any prestige, benefits or sense of self-importance but that we were ordained for the greater good of the Church universal and especially of the Lord’s holy people in the dioceses where we serve. That was an important lesson for me regarding the critical importance of personal and pastoral discernment.

Archbishop, may you rest in peace and in the joy of being forever with the Lord whom you loved and served so well.

Bishop Carlos, SJ