Five years ago I was called to serve the people of the Dallas Diocese as their bishop. Having served in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. for many years I did not know what to expect when I arrived in Texas.
What I found was a young vibrant church with a burgeoning Catholic population that had been sorely tested by tragic circumstances but had not lost its spirit. My initial impressions have been confirmed during the past five years.
No bishop stands alone, but serves in a continuous line of predecessors upon whose shoulders he stands. I am grateful to those who came before me for their accomplishments. By the same token, no bishop is a successful shepherd without the dedicated service of the clergy who pastor their people and the lay men and women who perform the myriad tasks that make the Church come alive.
A great blessing to me has been our priests and deacons who make Jesus present in word and worship in our parishes, and to the pastoral center staff who assist me day-to-day. I owe much to our Catholic school administrators and teachers and to the diocesan and parish catechetical leaders who have the future in their hands. When I arrived I was astounded at the large number of non-parish based groups that are committed to living and spreading the gospel.
A particular joy to me has been the growth of our two seminaries, Holy Trinity and Redemptoris Mater, that now have a record number of seminarians in formation for the priesthood.
My blessing has not just having been sent to Dallas, but the faithful co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard that I found here. I am especially grateful to God for the wonderful men and women of this Diocese whose graciousness has made me feel at home here in Texas.
In reflecting on my years of service here I recall the words of St. Augustine who reminded his people that ““For you I am a Bishop, with you I am a Christian,” and that is my privilege.
This post is also available in/Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish