Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Part of the first reading of Isaiah the Prophet for today’s Mass states “Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice O earth, break forth into song, you mountains.” The reading goes on to say that “”God will never forget us.”
I believe that these words from the Liturgy for today can truly be our words. We rejoice today and sing to the Lord with the election of Pope Francis, knowing that his election is a sign of the Lord’s faithfulness to us in every time and place. The faithfulness of Christ to His Church whenlong ago he said to Simon son of John “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” As we rejoice today those words echo as well.
We are thankful as well for all of the attention to the life of the Body of Christ in these past weeks from so many all over the world. This genuine outpouring of attention affirms indeed the relevancy of our Faith, and the call of our Faith to every Catholic to hear the words of the Lord and to live His life fully in His Body, the Church here on earth. To take that Faith and proclaim it once again to our contemporary culture with so many challenges, that God indeed is faithful to us, and has not forgotten us.
This day here in Orange, I have been in a day of reflection and prayer with all involved in the ministry of the future Christ Cathedral. As we reflected and prayed together in this new chapter in our lives, we were joined by video stream with the Church universal at St. Peter’s Basilica to welcome Pope Francis. It was almost an extension of being there! This is a historic time for all of us. The future Christ Cathedral campus will serve as a place to reflect the light of Christ to all here and far beyond, and to welcome all who come our way.
I send the greetings, prayers, best wishes to our new Holy Father on behalf of our local Church joyfully in union with the See of Peter, and Pope Francis as the successor of Peter. I encourage Catholics in Orange to join with me and to walk confidently in the light of this providential moment and to express through your daily life and example what living a Catholic life truly means. The Family of Faith of the Diocese of Orange embraces over 1.2 million Catholics of so many wonderful ethnic groups, reflecting the Universal Church.
Let us give thanks to God and celebrate the news of Pope Francis’ election. I will be celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving this coming Saturday morning at 8:15 AM at Holy Family Cathedral. This historic time will soon lead us into Holy Week and Easter with joy, confidence and concern for the Church and all she serves. We are the living Body of Christ, a vibrant, relevant and loving people of Faith!
I, along with Bishop Brown and Bishop Dominic, send prayers and best wishes,