Well, my friends, it just goes to show: sometimes the rumors are true!
When I answered the Lord’s call to the priesthood many years ago, I could not yet fathom the joys and experiences that ordained ministry would bring. From the moment of my priesthood ordination, I have had the privilege of walking with God’s people in all kinds of situations, in moments of joy and sorrow, striving more than anything to live out my baptismal call as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Now I have the blessing of accompanying God’s people in a new way through service as a bishop and successor to the Apostles. As such, I take great comfort in the fact that the ones Jesus chose to be his collaborators were not selected for their skills, knowledge, or abilities. They were sincere men with open hearts willing to follow wherever the Lord would lead them. And after his Ascension, they did their best to carry out his commission to go and make disciples from all nations. That is the kind of shepherd I aspire to be. And that’s why I’ve chosen “Go Make Disciples” as my episcopal motto (Matthew 28:19).
I am very much looking forward to continuing to walk the path of personal conversion alongside the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore as we strive to be missionary disciples and to live out our baptismal call each day. It’s hard to put into words just how much I am looking forward to this! It seems especially fitting to me that this announcement is occurring during Advent because this truly is a season of hope and anticipation. I have to say that those two words-hope and anticipation-best characterize my feeling right now as I look forward to ordination day. One of the things I am most excited about in my new role will be celebrating the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation, especially with our young people.
Pope Francis has constantly encouraged us to accompany others along the path of discipleship-to encounter people where they are and to invite them to Jesus by walking the path together. So as I have the blessing of accompanying you as a bishop, I ask that you likewise accompany me. That is my hope, that is my prayer, that is my request of you today. As Pope Francis said in The Joy of the Gospel, “Missionary disciples accompany missionary disciples.”
Un saludo de todo corazón a nuestros hermanos y hermanas de la comunidad hispana – ustedes quienes son la nueva generación de nuestra gran comunidad de la Fe. En estos días cuando celebramos el amor de nuestra madre como la Virgen de Guadalupe, les pido que recen por ella por el Obispo Mark y por mí, para que seamos hermanos y pastores fieles a ustedes, y que todos nosotros hagamos nuestra Iglesia de Baltimore como una familia de Dios donde todos están a casa. ¡Gracias y que Dios les bendiga!
I am very grateful to His Holiness, Pope Francis for this appointment. I also thank you, Archbishop Lori, for your leadership of this Archdiocese and for the opportunity to be a shepherd along with you. I’m grateful to Cardinal O’Brien, my long-time mentor and friend who is watching from Rome via the internet. In addition, I congratulate my new brother, Bishop-elect Mark Brennan whom I have known for many years and is truly a priest with a heart for the people. Finally, I am grateful to the parishioners at the parishes where I have been blessed to serve, to my brother priests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore for their constant support, encouragement, and prayers, along with the team at The Catholic Center whom I have the privilege of working alongside every day.
May Jesus Christ be praised, now and forever!