The Valley Catholic June 11, 2019 - Page 4

4 COMMUNITY June 11, 2019 | The Valley Catholic Bishop Oscar Cantú Celebrates 25 th Anniversary of Priesthood Ordination By Liz Sullivan Less than three weeks after taking over as the third Shepherd of the Dio- cese of San Jose Bishop Oscar Cantú celebrated the 25 th anniversary of his ordination to the Priesthood. A Mass of Thanksgiving was cel- ebrated on May 21 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph. Bishop Cantú was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Houston on May 21, 1994 by then Bishop Joseph Fiorenza. “I am most grateful today for the countless companions on the journey over the past 25 years: lay and clergy, who have encouraged me, loved me, guided me, befriended me along the way,” said Bishop Cantú during his homily. “From Houston to San Anto- nio, to Las Cruces, I am most grateful to those who supported me with love, friendship and honesty along the way.” Bishop Cantú was named Coadju- tor Bishop of San Jose in July 2018 Twenty-five years ago, today, then Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza ordained me a priest in Houston, Texas. As I opened the palms of my hands so that he could anoint them with the Sacred Chrism, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed at my personal inadequacy for the mag- nitude of the office I was to undertake, and the overwhelming and healing affects of God’s grace in the sacrament. As I reflect on my humble participation in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, I have likened it to a theatre – God’s theatre; we are able to witness first hand God acting in so many people’s lives, and we are not only witnesses to these miracles, but we priests are sacramental agents of God’s transformative love and grace. I am most grateful today for the countless companions on the journey over the past 25 years, lay and clergy, who have encouraged me, loved me, guided me, befriended me along the way. From Houston to San Antonio, to Las Cruces, I am most grateful to those who supported me with love, friendship and honesty along the way. I am especially grateful for the gra- cious welcome I received in San Jose from Bishop McGrath and his staff at the Chancery. I have been over- whelmed at the kindness and hospital- ity as I have visited parishes, schools, agencies and communities across the diocese. I am grateful for the work of Bishop Pierre DuMaine and the whole- Bishop Cantú interacts with priests before the Mass. and became Diocesan Bishop when Bishop Patrick J. McGrath retired on May 1, 2019. “I am especially grateful for the gracious welcome I received in San Jose from Bishop McGrath and his staff at the Chancery,” said Bishop Cantú. “I have been overwhelmed at the kindness and hospitality as I have visited parishes, schools, agencies and communities across the diocese. I am grateful for the work of (founding) Bishop Pierre DuMaine and the whole- some collaboration he received from lay women and men, religious women and men, and deacons and priests. Mak- ing my way across Santa Clara Valley numerous times over the past several months, I have been delighted by the natural beauty that surrounds this val- ley: I can only imagine what it once was – ‘the Valley of the Heart’s Delight.’ ” During his homily the Bishop high- lighted several areas of focus for him and the Diocese moving forward. They are: • Muliticultural Reality • Lay Formation • Catholic Schools • A Culture of Vocations • A Culture of Encounter • Culture of Innovation (For a full description of these initia- tives see the Bishop’s Homily below). “These specific initiatives and pro- grams are part of a wider concern and reach of the local church to witness to Christ in our lives, to preach in season and out of season,” said the Bishop. “They are part of a wider effort that Homily of Bishop Cantú’s 25th Anniversary Mass May 21 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph some collaboration he received from lay women and men, religious women and men, and deacons and priests. Recently, I had the privilege and op- portunity to speak with the priests of the diocese about the history of our diocese. I stand in humility and respect at the great work that has taken place in the almost 40 years of history, and even before the inception of the Diocese of San Jose. Making my way across the Santa Clara Valley numerous times over the past several months, I have been delighted by the natural beauty that surrounds this valley: I can only imag- ine what it once was – the Valley of the Heart’s Delight! Among the many good works tak- ing place in the name of the church, I wish to highlight a few. Others I am anxious to get to know more intimately. Muliticultural Reality As I begin to shepherd the church of San Jose, I am energized by the mul- ticultural reality of our local church. I firmly believe there are treasures of family values, treasures of faith, treasures of devotion, treasures of perseverance and determination, trea- sures of long-suffering and hope. These are treasures to be valued, protected, nourished, and shared. I look forward to finding creative ways to share the values of each culture with the wider Bishop gives his homily during Mass. community, that we might all benefit from these human and religious values. Lay Formation We have a wonderful treasure in our lay formation institute. I am grate- ful for the vision that created it, the leadership that has guided it, and the participants that have been enriched by it. I am grateful to Santa Clara Uni- versity for the myriad of ways in which the university has partnered with and supported various projects and min- istries in the diocese; I am anxious to continue a strong partnership into the future. I hope to continue to strengthen and support this important ministry we might encounter Christ anew and fall in love again with our God. They are part of larger effort to proclaim the dignity of the human person from the womb to the tomb.” At the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Cantú addressed the initiative, “Creat- ing a Culture of Vocations.” For Bishop Cantú this project begins with families. Each Parish and School was given a Crucifix made especially for this initiative. By encouraging families to pray together and dialogue about our faith, his hope is that younger generations will open their hearts and minds to God’s plan for them and for the Church. The Crucifix is to be passed on from family to family in each parish (class- room to classroom in each school) on a weekly basis. It can be presented to the new family/classroom at the end of Sunday (weekly) Mass, providing an opportunity to keep the topic of voca- tions front and center. of formation for our lay faithful. A la- ity formed in the rich tradition of the church and one which is engaged in the life of our parishes and ecclesial proj- ects – is essential to a vibrant church. Catholic Schools My own experience of Catholic schools in Houston has informed my vision and support of the mission of Catholic education. My siblings and I were children of immigrant parents, so most of our extended family and natural support system was far away. The parish and its school, therefore, became our de facto extended family. We shared the same values and ideals. They prepared my siblings and me for success as parents, and as community, industry, and church leaders. As a working class family, my parents were not able to afford the full cost of tuition, certainly not for eight children! Thank- fully, our family, like many others, were offered subsidized tuition rates: they paid what they could afford. My parents made great sacrifices for my siblings and me – as they wanted us to be formed in the heart of the church and to have doors of opportunity opened to us into the future. I was proud to work for my tuition in high school – painting classrooms and cutting the grass of the football field. Continued on page 5