October 27, 2016
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Newly Appointed Hispanic Bishop Of LA Discusses "The Brave Heart Of A Priest"


HUNTINGTON, Indiana,  -- With Los Angeles' current archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahony, retiring inFebruary 2011, Pope Benedict XVI has named Mexican-born Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio to succeed him.Gomez will begin immediately as coadjutor-archbishop with Mahony – in preparation for assuming full leadership of Los Angeles' nearly five million Catholics next year, 70 percent of whom are Hispanic.

Gomez's major book, Men of Brave Heart: The Virtue of Courage in the Priestly Life (Our Sunday Visitor, 2009, hardback, 240 pp., ISBN-13: 978-1592766802), talks of priestly fortitude, and provides rare insight for priests on sheparding in the Catholic Church.  Gomez discusses the moral and spiritual formation of a priest, and how that affects perseverance in his lifelong work.  He talks of why heroic dedication and love of Church doctrine are required, and of the courage necessary to live a chaste life.

Men of Brave Heart was written, Gomez says, to encourage priests to persevere in leading men and women to God in an age where so many have lost their way and live as if God no longer exists.

"The priest alone is configured to Christ, [standing] in the person of the Savior Himself, a messenger and vessel of the mercy of God," says Archbishop Gomez.  "And what distinguishes a priest is always his heart ... men do not come to the priesthood because they have calculated that it will be a good professional move.  They do not come for the money or even the opportunity to do useful and interesting work.  They come because they are compelled to come ... they have heard a call."

Yet to live out the priestly call over a lifetime, Gomez – a priest himself for over 30 years – says a man needs a brave heart.  Like Jesus, priests know the nature of existence ... nothing human is alien to a priest. He sees it all ... he walks with his people as they are born and as they die; ... in times of joy and times of sorrow; in sickness and suffering, in health and happiness.  

A vocal proponent of U.S. immigration reform, Gomez appeared on Time Magazine's 2005 list of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States.  Soon to become the first Hispanic leader of the largest American archdiocese, Gomez, 58, is one of only 22 Opus Dei bishops worldwide.  Opus Dei was founded by Spanish saint, Jose Maria Escriva, in 1928, who believed that sainthood could be achieved by anyone in carrying out his everyday tasks well.

Before his 2004 appointment as then-bishop of San AntonioGomez served as auxiliary bishop to Archbishop Chaput inDenver, beginning 2001.  While there he helped establish Denver's Centro San Juan Diego for Family and Pastoral Care, for providing care to immigrants as well as formation of lay leaders.  He was also instrumental in founding the Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Mexico in 2000, which trains priests who serve in the United States.  Additionally, Gomez has served on the United States Council of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) committees for priestly formation and priestly affairs, among many other distinguished committees.  

Born in 1951 in MontereyMexico as the only boy of five children, Gomez earned bachelors' degrees in business and philosophy at the National University of New Mexico (1975), then a doctorate degree in theology at the University of Navarre (Spain campus).  He was ordained an Opus Dei priest in 1978.

Our Sunday Visitor serves millions of Catholics worldwide through its publishing, offertory and communication services. Established in 1912 by a local parish priest, Our Sunday Visitor has grown into the nation's largest supplier of offering envelopes, parish and diocesan mailings, books, periodicals, curriculum, address management, and stewardship services. Our Sunday Visitor is a not-for-profit organization, returning a portion of net earnings back to the Catholic community through the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.  For more information, visit www.osv.com.


SOURCE Our Sunday Visitor Publishing

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