Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A New Shepherd for Austin!

Habemus episcopum! (We have a bishop!)
Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Joe S. Vásquez , of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston as Bishop of the Diocese of Austin. Bishop Vásquez will be the fifth bishop of Austin and the first Mexican-American to lead the diocese. Bishop Vásquez succeeds Bishop Gregory Aymond who was appointed Archbishop of New Orleans by Pope Benedict XVI last year.

For my non-Catholic blog readers here's some info on who a bishop is in the Catholic Church. A bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders and is responsible for teaching the Catholic faith and ruling the Church. The office of bishops traces its origin to the apostles, who were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. 1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4 This special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Bishops are collectively known as the College of Bishops, and can hold such additional titles as archbishop, cardinal, patriarch, or pope. As of 2009 there were approximately 5,100 bishops total in the Latin and Eastern branches of the Catholic Church. The pope is the man who possesses the sacrament of Holy Orders as a bishop and who has been chosen to be Bishop of Rome. Because the Catholic Church holds that the "College of Bishops" as a group is the successor of the "College of Apostles", the bishops of the Church in ecumenical council have the authority to govern the Church. However, the Church also holds that uniquely among the apostles Saint Peter was granted a role of leadership and authority, giving him the right to speak for the Church and making his leadership necessary for the completion of the College.

Bishop Vásquez will oversee 127 parishes and missions in 25 Central Texas counties. In our diocese there are some 50 seminarians and a Catholic population of 500,000! Twice what it was two decades ago. It is expected to double again in size over the next 15 to twenty years!

Welcome Bishop Vásquez, and thanks be to God for the gift of priesthood. We trust in the Holy Spirit to enlighten these Shepherds!


Esther G. said...

Melissa, that is terrific! We should all say a prayer for your new bishop.
Thank you.

Mickie and Matt said...

Cool! Thats neat for you guys down there in TX.

P.S. I just realized that the BYU vs. TEXAS game will be in NEXT year not THIS year. Who KNOWS where we'll be then... Maybe living in TEXAS! Haha just kidding. But hey we just might come to the game, Matt WONT be in school then.