At two Masses – one in English and one in Spanish – in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, leadership of the largest archdiocese in the U.S. is transferred from Roger Mahony to Jose Gomez, the Washington Post reports.
During one of the masses, Cardinal Mahony handed his crosier to ArchbishopÂ Gomez, symbolizing the transfer of authority from one bishop to another, the LA Times says.
The ceremonies fell on Mahony’s 75th birthday, the day he was obligated to submit his letter of resignation to Pope Benedict XVI. That was done by fax, and a letter from the pope was expected to be faxed back on Tuesday, at which point Gomez officially will become archbishop of Los Angeles.
In recognition of the demographic changes that have transformed the archdiocese in the 25 years since Mahony became archbishop in late 1985, the first Mass was conducted in English, the second in Spanish. It seemed a fitting end for a cardinal who dedicated much of his career to the cause of Latino immigrants and a fitting beginning for an archbishop, Gomez, who is an immigrant from Mexico, the Times noted.
In his homily Gomez paid tribute to Mahony and brought the audience to its feet in a standing ovation when he said to the cardinal: “So, thank you very much. Muchas gracias. Well done, good and faithful servant.”
He then led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday.”
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