be Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, who lives and reigns forever. Amen!
in the true spirit of Easter joy that I greet all of you here as the newly
installed shepherd of God’s flock in western Oregon.
to express my gratitude to His Eminence, Cardinal Levada, a former Archbishop
of Portland and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith, for gracing us with his presence today.
most appreciative for the presence of His Excellency, Archbishop Viganò,
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, who has presented the papal bull
appointing me Archbishop of this local Church and who has formally installed me
as its chief shepherd. Your Excellency, your presence with us today brings a
special closeness of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and reminds us all that we
are part of the universal Church of Jesus Christ.
to thank and acknowledge a very special person to all of us, Archbishop Vlazny.
I want to thank you, Your Excellency, for the very kind and gracious welcome
you extended to me to this Archdiocese from the moment of our first telephone
conversation after my appointment here. But most of all, on behalf of the
entire Church of the Archdiocese, I want to thank you for your faithful and
beautiful ministry as its shepherd for all of these past fifteen years.
brother bishops, priests and deacons, dear consecrated religious, my dear
brothers and sisters in Christ, and all people of good will, to you I repeat
the words of the psalm: “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice
and be glad in it!”
this not because of the installation of a new Archbishop, but because Jesus
Christ has risen from the dead. He is alive, he loves us, he calls us to
faithful discipleship, and he asks us to be witnesses of his resurrection
before the world.
see, there is the danger on such an occasion to think that this is somehow all
about your new Archbishop or this local Church. We must always keep our eyes
fixed on Jesus. It is not about me. It is always about him, and we must never
lose sight of that.
these readings from the Acts of the Apostles which the Church gives us during
these first days of the Easter octave we have St. Peter, in the power of the
Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, standing before the people and proclaiming
Jesus Christ, as risen from the dead.
truly a bold and fearless proclamation of the Good News meant for all those
whom God calls. He is fulfilling the mission that Jesus Christ entrusted to him
and the other Apostles.
what is needed in the Church today. We need a new Pentecost, a new outpouring
of the Holy Spirit to set our hearts on fire for proclaiming Jesus Christ. With
hearts filled with joy, love and mercy, we must proclaim the Good News.
to you as your new Archbishop to announce afresh to you, the disciples of Jesus
Christ, that he is alive! This is good news, not just for the disciples of two thousand
years ago, but for us today. It is good news for all people. Jesus is alive and
has become for us the source of eternal life. By his death he has destroyed
death, freed us from the corruption of sin and opened up for us the way to the
Kingdom of Heaven. This is the basic message of salvation and we must never
cease to believe it and proclaim it.
like to draw your attention to my episcopal motto: Vultum Christi contemplari
, “to contemplate the face of Christ.”
You must know that, for me, this is more than just a nice phrase. It speaks
clearly and directly of my vision for our work together here in western Oregon.
inspiration for this motto is taken from the writings of Blessed John Paul II,
specifically from his apostolic letter at the beginning of the new millennium, Novo
Ineunte and his last encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia
Ineunte, he writes: "’We wish to see Jesus’" (quoting
the Gospel of St. John). This request, addressed to the Apostle Philip by some
Greeks who had made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover, echoes
spiritually in our ears too during this Jubilee Year. Like those pilgrims of
two thousand years ago, the men and women of our own day often perhaps
unconsciously ask believers not only to ‘speak’ of Christ, but in a certain
sense to ‘show’ him to them. And is it not the Church's task to reflect the
light of Christ in every historical period, to make his face shine also before
the generations of the new millennium? Our witness, however, would be
hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated his face
dat quod non habet
! No one can give what one does not have! We
cannot give Jesus Christ to others until we have first come to know him
intimately and profoundly.
Gospel today we see Mary Magdalene as the first one to announce the risen Lord.
Jesus tells her to go and tell the other disciples this good news, that he is
alive. And so she does.
notice that she did not recognize him at first, and that it is only after she
has gazed at him, recognized him, that she is able to proclaim him to the
others as risen from the dead. He called her name and she responded.
did she not recognize him at first. This is a question long pondered by scripture
scholars and those who have reflected on the Gospel. Perhaps she was distracted
by her own grief and worry. Maybe she was anxious and pre-occupied.
case she failed to gaze at him, to really look at him. Is this the case for us
today? Are we so distracted, anxious, fearful and pre-occupied with the
business of daily living that we too have failed to look intently at Jesus, to
recognize him, to contemplate his face?
we can proclaim him to others, we too must first recognize him. We must really
see him. We must contemplate his risen face before we can announce him to
hear the Lord Jesus call our name, as he called Mary, and as she recognized
him, so must we. But then we must proclaim him!
Year of Faith, in which this installation of your new Archbishop takes place,
is meant to help us do just that. This year is meant to strengthen our faith by
contemplating Christ’s face and the mystery of our faith in order to prepare us
for the supremely important work of the New Evangelization, the great mission
that is before us. To really set about the work of the New Evangelization in
earnest, however, our faith must first be strengthened.
letter to the Church proclaiming this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI quoted
some powerful words of the great St. Augustine: “Believers strengthen
themselves by believing.” This is a time for strengthening our own faith, so
that we can better witness to the love, the mercy and the truth found in the
Lord Jesus Christ. But we strengthen that faith by believing more firmly and
devoutly that which has been revealed to us by Almighty God in the Sacred
Scriptures and in the living Tradition of the Church.
will require holiness. We need saints for our own day to be the salt of the
earth, the light of the world, and a leaven in society. We are above all called
to holiness, and our times demand that we answer that call with renewed zeal
are many challenges facing us in these times. We are witnessing an almost
unprecedented and increasing radical secularism that seeks to push God out of
the picture, and not just to the margins of society, but even right off the
page of human experience in society today.
also facing what Pope Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis, have called a
dictatorship or tyranny of relativism. There is no longer in our society a
recognition that there are some eternal and unchangeable truths, especially
about the very nature and dignity of the human person. This is a serious
challenge when we can no longer dialogue with our contemporaries from a common
understanding of the innate and essential nature of the human person.
then there are the challenges of our own making. We cannot hide from the fact
that the scandals that have plagued the Church in recent years have seriously
damaged our standing and credibility in the wider society in which we seek to
proclaim the Gospel of Life. This great Archdiocese has certainly not been spared
refer to these "challenges of our own making," I mean that some of
your leaders, your pastors, your shepherds have seriously let you down and done
grave harm to individuals. We can never express too much sorrow and regret for
the harm that has been done and we must never relax our efforts and our pledge
to help heal victim survivors of sexual abuse and to protect children and young
is with humility but with a firm purpose that we go about our renewed efforts
to proclaim the Good News. But we must be strong in our own faith, convinced of
the light and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
those called to be witnesses to Jesus Christ in the world, we must move beyond
the days of doubting and questioning our Catholic Faith, wringing our hands in
the face of so many difficulties and challenges. In the face of so many
challenges today, how will we ever convince the world of Jesus Christ if we
ourselves are not convinced?
witness and speak of our faith before others with confidence and clarity and
with the greatest charity. But speak of Jesus Christ and our faith, we must.
And we must not forget that which will our greatest witness to Jesus Christ,
and that is the love, the mercy and the compassion that we show toward those
who suffer; the poor, the marginalized, the abandoned, the lonely and
forgotten. The modern day “widows and orphans” that Sacred Scripture admonishes
us to care for. How beautifully our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, is showing
us the way by example.
midst of our challenges we must continue to bear witness to the dignity of
human life and every human person from the womb until natural death, the
dignity of marriage and the good of children, a special love for the poor and
marginalized, and religious liberty.
I am so
very happy that so many of our ecumenical and interreligious brothers and
sisters have joined us today in this celebration. I will truly value and
respect our friendships and relationships and will work hand in hand with our
brothers and sisters in promoting the true common good and the dignity of every
my dear brothers and sisters, it is time, in the words of Blessed John Paul II
to “duc in altum
” to put out into
the deep sea of history and to let down the nets for a catch, leading others to
the love of God in Jesus Christ.
“Duc in altum
! (Put out into the deep!)
These words ring out for us today, and they invite us to remember the past with
gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the
future with confidence: ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and
Duc in altum
matter how difficult or even hopeless the challenges may seem, Jesus Christ has
risen from the dead. He is alive and is with us and will make it happen. What
he needs is our faith and trust. We repeat the words that Jesus taught to St.
Faustina: Jesus, I trust in you!
turn towards the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life.
We must not merely celebrate so wonderful a mystery. We must be transformed by
and imitate the mystery we celebrate. We must lay down our lives for God and in
service to others, in imitation of Jesus who came not to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for the many.
my Body, which is given up for you. This is my Blood which is poured out for
you. As he has done for us, so we must do for one another. Such a heroic virtue
and self-giving is what is needed in our times.
been deeply inspired by the holiness, the zeal and missionary fervor of the
first bishop of my former diocese, Venerable Frederic Baraga, whose own heroic
virtue has been recognized for the whole universal Church by Pope Benedict XVI.
He came to the upper Great Lakes region as a missionary and a stranger from
another land. I feel a strong bond with him as I come to you also as a stranger
from another place. I ask his prayers for me as I take up my new pastoral
responsibility among you. They say, “Home is where the heart is.” I know my
home will be here, because you will have my heart.
John Paul wrote in Ecclesia de Eucharistia
: “To contemplate the face of
Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the ‘programme’ which I have set
before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium, summoning her to put out
into the deep on the sea of history with the enthusiasm of the new
to my Mother and your Mother, Mary Immaculate, the patroness of this great
Archdiocese that I entrust my ministry as your shepherd. May she form in me the
likeness of her Son, Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd.
bless you, and please pray for me!