Bishop Cantú’s Homily from September 28 Mass of Welcome

Bishop Cantú’s Homily from September 28 Mass of Welcome

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Bishop Oscar Cantú gave the homily during the Mass of Welcome held at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph on September 28. Photo by Clarisse Balistreri

I am grateful to Bishop P.J. McGrath for the gracious welcome he has offered me in San José.  I look forward to working with you in the coming months and to learn from you the great work that has been undertaken in this corner of the Lord’s vineyard.

I am grateful to the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.  Merci bien de votre présence avec nous aujourd’hui. Please convey to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, our deep love for him and our daily prayers for him.

Thank you to Cardinal Roger Mahoney and Cardinal William Levada for your presence and you prayers.

Thank you to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Archbishop José Gómez for your kind and warm welcome to California.  I look forward to working with you.

Thank you to all my brother bishops for your presence and prayers.

It is the Lord God who is at the center of this celebration.  He reminds us through the Prophet Ezekiel: “I myself will tend my sheep!”  He reminds people like myself, with big hats – and perhaps big egos – that it is He, the Lord, who is the Good Shepherd.  Thank goodness!  Thank goodness the Lord is in charge.  It is helpful, particularly in these times when the sins and crimes of people who represent the Church have shocked and disturbed us: it is helpful to remember that the Church is both human and divine. It is made up of imperfect human beings, sinners, like you and me – and yet it is the Holy Spirit that guides and strengthens us and Jesus Christ who remains the Head and Shepherd of his Church, and is present to us, even in these troubling times.  He is present to us, sometimes in silence, allowing us to make our horrific mistakes.  He is present especially to victims of abuse, to all those who have suffered, extending his compassion, grace, and love. We, too, pledge never to forget the survivors of abuse and to do what is in our power to help them find healing in their lives. May we learn from St. Joseph, who took care of Mary and the Child Jesus and protected them.  May we learn from him to protect the little ones in our midst.  May the Good Shepherd help us, as the Prophet Ezekiel announced in today’s reading, to seek out the lost; to bring back with love, truth, and compassion, those who have strayed; to bind up with a listening ear, a compassionate heart, and God’s grace those who have been injured (especially victims of abuse); and to offer the healing balm of God’s love and mercy to those who have been sickened by the toxicity of the world and by the sins and crimes of those who represent the Church.  We are encouraged by Saint John’s words in the second reading today: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.”

I wish to acknowledge those who have come from the Diocese of Las Cruces.  Many of them rode 20 hours on a bus. Thank you for your prayers for me, for your love and faithfulness. Your prayers have sustained me, especially in difficult moments.  I will continue to pray for the Diocese of Las Cruces, in this time of transition, as you await the naming of a new bishop.  Let us recall the words of the Prophet Ezekiel, “I myself will pasture my sheep!” May the Lord always be present to you, nourish you with his love, and guide you with his wisdom.

I turn now to my new flock, the Diocese of San José. Thank you for welcoming me today. Thank you for your prayers.  I look forward to getting to know you and working with you to build up God’s kingdom in this beautiful, and challenging, part of the world.  I will work and learn from Bishop McGrath over the next several months to understand the history of the diocese.  I look forward to getting to know our priests, deacons, consecrated, and lay leaders: so that we might work together and walk together as God’s people, as missionary disciples.

I am very aware of the tremendously diverse nature of the Diocese of San José. While I certainly cannot be all things to all people, know that I will do my best to be present to you and to help you to grow in your faith and in God’s grace. I will certainly hold you in my daily prayers.

There is a very large and diverse Asian community in San José.  I look forward to worshipping with you and getting to know you.  You have brought with you from your home countries, your faith, your traditions, your devotions.  The Church in the United States is enriched by your presence, your prayers, and your faith.

Everywhere that I have traveled around the world, I have encountered Filipinos. Thank you for your faithful witness, your hard work, your love for the Jesus Christ and for the Church.

The Vietnamese have enriched the Church with vocations, with united and prayerful families. Chào mừng các bạn. Tôi cám ơn quý ông bà anh chị em, và xin Chúa luôn chúc lành cho quý ông bà anh chị em.

A la comunidad hispana, expreso mi cercanía para con ustedes. La iglesia en EE. UU. ha celebrado, hace unos dias, el V Encuentro nacional – reconociendo los dones y retos de la comunidad hispana en EE. UU. Se ha logrado mucho a través de las últimas decadas, pero todavía falta mucho por hacer para el Reino de Dios. Mientras que prometo estar cerca de ustedes como su pastor, les pido generosidad en cuanto a sus hijos e hijas: que les inculquen apertura a la voz y la voluntad de Dios. Muchos ya sirven en la misión de la iglesia como laicos alegres y comprometidos. Dios les llama a tantos jovenes adultos a la bella y dificil vocación del matrimonio y la vida familiar. A algunos les llama a entregarse en fe y amor al servicio de la iglesia en la vida consagrada. A otros, los llama el Señor a dar sus vidas en sacrificio, alegria, y amor en el sacerdocio.  Hay que sembrar semillas para así poder cosechar la fruta.  La iglesia los necesita. Así como la vida de Zaqueo en el evangelio de hoy, fue transformado en ese encuentro con Cristo, que nuestros hijos también experimenten un encuentro con Jesús que les llene de alegria, esperanza, y amor. Trabajemos juntos a construir el reino de Dios aqui en San José.

Finally, I want to thank my own family, some of whom are present here today.  While I learned much over nine years that I lived, prayed, and studied in the seminary, it was the 18 years with my family that I learned the most important lessons: faith, prayer, work, trust, humility, forgiveness. Thank you to my family for the journey that we have taken together.

While I mentioned at the beginning the cardinals, Pope Francis, the bishops, and priests, I want to acknowledge someone with much more authority than they, my mother. Gracias, mami, por tu fe, por tu perseverancia, y por tu amor. Aún en tu edad dorada, nos sigues dando un ejemplo de alegria: de fe, esperanza, y amor.

In a time when the Church universal is under a cloud of scandal, we seek the intercession of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. May we learn from him to protect the little ones, from the womb to the tomb. May he guide us and provide a light in this dark time, and walk with us through a long period of purification. Saint Joseph, pray for us.  San José, ruega por nosotros.