By the time you receive this issue of Catholic Herald magazine, you may have read already about the announcement of my appointment as the sixth bishop of Stockton.
This year, as I was anticipating my fourth year as Auxiliary Bishop of Diocese of Sacramento, I was not expecting to be named bishop of Stockton! Since Jan. 23 public announcement of my appointment from His Holiness Pope Francis, I have been reflecting on the many blessings I have received during these four years as your auxiliary bishop.
It has been a grace-filled time consisting of a variety of new pastoral experiences. It has been a pleasure to share the episcopal ministry with Bishop Jaime Soto, along with the bishop’s management team, consisting of the chancellor, Kathy Connor, and the chief financial officer, Tom McNamara. I have greatly benefited working with them and observing their sense of expertise and their love and dedication in serving the church.
The Departments that make up the Diocesan Pastoral Center team have impressed upon me the importance of working in collaboration for the sake of the diocesan church. As the Pastoral Center’s ministry reaches out to you -- the priests, deacons, religious and laity of this diocese -- I thank God for your support, which I have received and experienced from all of you during my time as your Auxiliary Bishop. Journeying throughout this vast diocese, and visiting with the many vibrant parishes within it, has truly been a gift to me.
In receiving God’s call to move on to the Diocese of Stockton to continue to exercise my episcopal ministry, now as a “diocesan” bishop, it is a comfort to know that we will be neighbors. It a blessing to know that the Diocese of Stockton is bordered by my home Diocese of Fresno to the south, and to the north, the Diocese of Sacramento. It has been a gift to have served in both of these dioceses. Now, as I begin my pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Stockton, it will be an honor to serve the third “sister diocese” of our great Central Valley of California.
May the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ remain with you. May the prayers of Our Lady of Guadalupe continue to guide and protect you, now and always!
Although the reality is bittersweet, I leave with a grateful heart. My friends, it is comforting to know that we are, as they say, “just a stone’s throw away.” Let us pray for one another as we allow God to lead us as He wills. Blessings to all!