By Liz Sullivan
As the sun set throughout Santa Clara County on September 27 members of the Catholic Community, led by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, came together at Mission Santa Clara de Asís on the campus of Santa Clara University. The gathering of about 300 people was a celebration of Vespers (Evening Prayer) to welcome Coadjutor Bishop Oscar Cantú to the Diocese of San Jose.
Vespers was an opportunity for the Diocese to celebrate the Bishop’s arrival. Bishop Cantú was appointed Coadjutor Bishop on July 11 by Pope Francis.
In the Catholic Church, the Coadjutor Bishop is an immediate collaborator of the Diocesan Bishop, with the right of succession to the position. The partnership allows the new Bishop time to become familiar with the diocese he will eventually lead.
The evening prayer was celebrated in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio (the Pope’s representative in the U.S.) Archbishop Christophe Pierre, clergy, laity and members of Bishop Cantú’s family.
“This is an evening of joy and celebration,” said Bishop McGrath in his opening remarks. “I am absolutely ecstatic that Bishop Oscar is here.”
Bishop Cantú, 51, spent the last five years as Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and before that was Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio for five years.
Both Bishops have a connection in that when they were named Auxiliary Bishops, each was the youngest Bishop in the United States.
It has been almost 20 years to the day since Bishop McGrath came to San Jose as Coadjutor Bishop, succeeding founding Bishop Pierre DuMaine. Bishop McGrath formally became the second Bishop of San Jose on November 27, 1999. Previously, Bishop McGrath was an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
“Today is one is one of the happiest days of my life,” said Bishop McGrath in his homily. “It is a time to look forward to the new bond established between the Diocese of San Jose and Bishop Oscar. It is a time of rejoicing, a time of hope and gratitude. My friends, this is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be very, very, very glad.”