Los Angeles, Calif., Nov 21, 2019 / 11:39 am (CNA).- Following his election as president of the US bishops’ conference, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles has noted that what is of importance is not his own vision for the Church, but that of Christ.
“In interviews this week, I am getting asked a lot about my ‘vision’ for the Church. It is a good, sincere question. But I’m not sure it is the right question,” he wrote in a Nov. 19 column at Angelus News.
“The Church does not belong to any archbishop, even the president of the bishops’ conference. The Church does not belong to any of us. She belongs to Jesus, the Church is his Body and Bride.”
Archbishop Gomez said that the Church’s mission and identity given her by Christ is “to tell the world about his life and what he has done for us, and to help them know that Jesus is the way that leads to the truth about their lives, to the love and happiness that they long for.”
The baptized “are called to be people who evangelize, disciples who are missionaries … this is the true nature of the Church. And our mission is urgent.”
The archbishop noted that our culture is confused “about the meaning of human life and freedom,” and that “there are many competing narratives now about how to find happiness and what is essential in life.”
The Church, he said, has a duty “to reach out to those who are no longer practicing any religion and also to those who come to church regularly but may not be sure what it means to be Catholic, or what the Church teaches and why.”
Archbishop Gomez called for the Church “to find new ways to propose Jesus Christ as the answer to the questions that every person holds in their hearts and minds. We need to call every man and woman to experience the full beauty of the gospel, the joy and newness of life that we have in Jesus Christ. We need to call them to find their home in the Church, in the saving mysteries of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.”
“So, my ‘vision’ is that we work together — priests, deacons, seminarians, consecrated men and women, lay people in every walk of life — all of us seeking to do God’s will, spreading the good news of Jesus and his salvation and calling everyone to holiness.”
This is possible only by God’s grace and “in union with Christ’s vicar on Earth,” he recalled.
Pope Francis “is leading us and calling all of us in the Church to rediscover this idea: that God has created us, and in baptism has given us a part to play in his plan of salvation — to be missionary disciples.”
Archbishop Gomez said he is honored and humbled by the support and confidence indicated by his Nov. 12 election as USCCB president.
He said the election “is a reflection of the growing diversity of the Church in this country, and I also think it is a reflection of what we are doing here in Los Angeles.”
“Certainly, the bishops recognize the presence and importance of Latinos in the Church and in our nation,” he added.
The universality of the Church is seen “in the amazing diversity of the local Church here in Los Angeles,” the archbishop stated. “But more and more, the face of the Church is changing in dioceses across the country.”
He said this is beautiful, reflecting that “Christ intends his Church to be a home for all people, God’s family on earth, with children of God from every race and culture, every nationality and language all following him and living as brothers and sisters.”
“This is the only reason the Church exists: for this great mission of calling the family of God into being, building God’s kingdom on Earth.”
Archbishop Gomez solicited prayers as he takes on the responsibility of USCCB president, and entrusted his time in the role “to the maternal care of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
“May she intercede for us and inspire every Catholic to follow Jesus with deep love and a true desire to share his message of salvation with the people of our time,” Archbishop Gomez concluded.