On Dec. 19, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph V. Brennan returned “home” as he was officially installed as episcopal vicar for the San Fernando Pastoral Region.
Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrated the installation during an evening Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood with more than 20 priests, deacons and religious in attendance. Bishop Brennan’s family and friends also attended the Mass to celebrate his new chapter as episcopal vicar.
“I am so happy to be back home in the [San Fernando] Valley,” Bishop Brennan told the congregation after Mass, promising to keep his remarks short because he had tickets to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Drawing on the movie’s theme, he said, “We know the force has awakened in us. It awakened 2,000 years ago. He made himself small enough to be held in our arms.”
Bishop Brennan, who resided in the Valley in the 1950s — where he attended St. Elisabeth School in Van Nuys and Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks — said he has seen how much the region has changed.
“It’s a big region, it’s a big job, but I’m not doing it alone,” he said.
“I pray that I will have the courage and strength to lead the flock — maybe sometimes to places that they do not want to go — and that I will have the humility to be led by the flock out of my own comfort zone, and together we will go forward.”
In July, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Brennan as one of three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; he was ordained Sept. 8.
On Nov. 21, Archbishop Gomez installed Bishop Robert Barron as episcopal vicar of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region and installed Bishop David O’Connell for the San Gabriel Pastoral Region the following day.“It is important to remember that all of our auxiliary bishops are ordained to serve, not only the region they are assigned to, but the entire family of God in Los Angeles,” said Archbishop Gomez during his homily.
“Auxiliary bishops are called to be true pastors — men of prayer and virtue, men of mercy and men of mission — in the service of the archdiocese, and in communion with me as the archbishop and with Pope Francis as the head of the universal Church,” he said.“A bishop is called to be first and foremost a missionary disciple, one who brings Jesus, one who brings the mercy and love of God, to the people he serves,” he continued. “Today we ask Our Blessed Mother to intercede for Bishop Brennan as he begins his ministry in the San Fernando Pastoral Region.”