By Liz Sullivan
It was a moment for the faithful to say “thank you” to their shepherd.
On May 1, the Diocese of San Jose celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph to honor Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, who retired at the stroke of midnight on May 1, after 20 years of leading the Diocese.
Every Bishop of the Catholic Church must submit a request for retirement to the Holy See as they approach their 75th birthday. Bishop McGrath will turn 74 in June.
On July 11, 2018, the Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico since 2013, was appointed by the Holy Father as Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose. Bishop Cantú, 52, has spent the last 10 months becoming familiar with the Diocese of San Jose.
Ordained a priest in 1970 for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Bishop McGrath became the second Bishop of San Jose on November 27, 1999 upon the retirement of founding Bishop Pierre DuMaine. Just as Bishop Cantú did, Bishop McGrath spent about 14 months serving as Coadjutor Bishop in San Jose.
”You and I have a new Bishop, a new shepherd,” said Bishop McGrath during the homily. “Since I first knew of his appointment last July, I have given thanks to God for Bishop Oscar Cantú, in whom I have come to know a loving, thoughtful, wise and caring pastor who will lead this local Church with integrity and fidelity to the Lord. Last midnight, Bishop Oscar became the Third Bishop of San Jose. I congratulate him and you. I pledge to him my support as I know that you will do the same. Pray for our new Bishop and please continue to pray for the old one, who will always be praying for you.”
At the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Cantú presented Bishop McGrath with the Saint Joseph Award. This award is the highest honor a Bishop of San Jose can bestow.
“We recognize and are grateful for your service and spreading the Gospel to the faithful of the Diocese of San Jose,” said Bishop Cantú.”I now personally ask for your prayers. You will have much more time to pray now. An active Bishop prays out of necessity. Now you can pray for delight.”
Bishop McGrath was also awarded the Benedictus Award by the Diocesan Liturgical Commission, and a Memory Book from the parishes and schools in the Diocese.
“We give thanks and praise to almighty God for what you have given us,” said Father Christopher Bennett, Pastor of Saint Christopher. “You have been a faithful friend and teacher to all of us.”
Finally, before the closing prayer, Bishop McGrath addressed the capacity crowd assembled in the Cathedral, including eight members of his family who traveled from Ireland and the East Coast for the Mass.
“I come to this day with a grateful heart,” said Bishop McGrath, choking back tears for much of the 10 minutes he spoke. “I am grateful to God and to all of you. When I came to the Diocese in 1998 you received me with open arms and open hearts. I look around and I see you my legacy. I thank all of you who have given me those special moments in my life.
“I bid farewell for now. God bless you, Bishop Cantú and the great local Church of San Jose. I love all of you.”
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