Tears of joy and of hope
Archbishop Alex J. Brunett
As the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Oakland these past eight months, it has been my honor and privilege to serve and minister to the Catholic parishes and communities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
That seemed like a dramatic challenge for me since I have never lived In California and didn't know anything about Oakland other than its reputation for violence in the streets.
Born in Detroit, it seemed I would be returning to an environment from which I was nurtured.
Was I ever wrong about my presuppositions! Being here these past eight months and working with you has been one of the joys of my life.
This is the land of sunshine, joy, promise, potential and hope. Where else in the world can one discover such potential, such untapped energy, such possibility for the life of the Church.
As I see it, much is owed to all those with whom I have ministered and to the dedicated Catholics who bring life and vibrancy to our parish communities.
From the time this diocese was created in 1962, you have been blessed with a rich and exciting history and a succession of dedicated bishops, priests, religious sisters and brothers, outstanding lay leaders, a strong and committed youth movement, a lively liturgical life, care and ministry for the sick, the dying and the grieving, parents and teachers deeply involved in the religious formation of children and men and women who continue to proclaim their faith by the example of their daily lives.
Throughout the years, this diocese has been described in different ways. It has been called innovative, colorful, reverent, exciting, prayerful and real. In the time that I have been here, I can attest to all of those characterizations of this local Church.
In my time here I have admired the wide diversity of cultures and languages that emerged from the new immigrants who have moved here. On any given weekend you can attend Mass in more than 20 different languages. What a wonderful reflection of the universal Church united with our Holy Father and each other, but most especially with Christ the Light, each time we celebrate the Eucharist.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! — to all the priests for your dedication, caring and lives full of priestly energy formed by the wisdom of the Gospel, the religious communities of men and women whose lives have touched all levels of Catholic faith, the diocesan staff who have given of their gifts and talents to enrich the life of the Church, lay people who serve our local parish communities, teachers and administrators of our schools and so many others.
As you welcome your new bishop, may you reach out to him with kindness and joy, pray for him and help him build the future of this diocese in hope.
I leave you with a prayer that you may always be inspired by the light of the Resurrection to seek out the bright face of beauty in the lives of all you serve, to reach for the vision that will help you to see the world through the eyes of tenderness and to love all with an open heartedness in Christ.
May you always be aware of the needs of others, as you believe in the wonder of life and the miracle of God's creative presence, the beauty of the universe and dignity of every human being.
Life is a miracle, and the right to live is a precious gift from God. Live each day with hope and vision and whether you are very young or very old, life is filled each day with wonder and joy.
Please pray for me each day and if you ever get to Seattle, Washington, it would be a joy to visit with you.
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