Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Communications Department - Archdiocese of Miami
Jesus once bid Peter “Duc in altum” (Put out into the deep). Now Peter’s successor has asked me to do the same in entrusting to me this new responsibility. I am being called back to this local Church where I was ordained a priest and where I served as a parish priest and auxiliary bishop. Humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in me and aware of my own limitations and shortcomings, I once again ask the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, that I may worthily fulfill my new duties as the fourth Archbishop of Miami upon my installation on June 1, 2010.
While I am “coming home to Miami”, I am leaving the Diocese of Orlando where I have served almost seven years. I am deeply grateful to the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Orlando. They welcomed me and always made me feel at home in Central Florida. As I return to South Florida, I know you will welcome me and also make me feel at home again as I reacquaint myself with priests, deacons and faithful of the Archdiocese of Miami.
I am grateful to Archbishop Favalora who shortly after he arrived here to the Archdiocese appointed me as the Archdiocese Director of Catholic Charities. I had big shoes to fill – replacing Msgr. Bryan O. Walsh. And, I have big shoes to fill now. Archbishop, I was privileged to serve as your auxiliary bishop for six years. You were always a good mentor and you taught me not to be anxious for “God will provide”. I hope that I can turn to you to seek your advice and counsel from time to time. Hopefully, retirement will afford you the opportunity to be as occupied as you wish – without being preoccupied.
Those preoccupations fall on my shoulders come June 1st when I will be installed as your new Archbishop. I am told that Miami has its challenges but what else is new? The Lord tells us: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28: 5). But the fundamental challenge that we face together is: “to show the Church’s capacity to promote and form disciples and missionaries who respond to the calling received and communicate everywhere, in an overflow of gratitude and joy, the gift of encounter with Jesus Christ. We have no other treasure but that. We have no other happiness, no other priority but being instruments of the Spirit of God, in the Church, so that Jesus Christ may be known, followed, loved, adored, and communicated to all, despite difficulties and resistances.” (Documento Conclusivo de Aparecida –V conferencia de CELAM).
When I was in Orlando, I used to tell the priests that I would not ask them to work harder than I did. To the priests of Miami, I say the same. And priests do work hard – and our people do appreciate that; and, they have every right to expect that: not that we burn ourselves out but that we burn ourselves up with love for them and for the Lord.
As I prepare to become your Archbishop, I ask all of you, auxiliary bishops, priests, deacons, religious and members of Christ’s faithful, for your prayers and for your support. I ask the same from the other faith communities of South Florida and I look forward to collaborating with them and with our civic and political leaders to promote the common good and the dignity of the human person made in the “image and likeness of God.”
John Paul II reminded us: we must remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm and look to the future with confidence. And so, with a mixture of gratitude, enthusiasm and confidence, I would like to conclude my statement this morning with these words from Pope Benedict XVI:
“There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord's hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord. It is God who governs the world, not we. We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength. To do all we can with what strength we have, however, is the task which keeps the good servant of Jesus Christ always at work: “The love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5:14). Deus Caritas Est, #31