Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, leader of the largest archdiocese in the nation, is serving as a blogger and commenter for the Los Angeles Times, offering reflections during the five-day journey with the pontiff.
On Wednesday, Gomez said he was particularly inspired by the pope’s “energy and joy."
“To see him smiling and laughing — it is a sign of hope and inspiration to me,” he said.
Read the archbishop’s first dispatch to Los Angeles below:
“Today is the most important day of the Pope’s visit for me, and for Latino Catholics across the United States and throughout the Americas. Today, in a joyful Mass at Catholic University of America, the Pope will canonize St. Junípero Serra.
Father Serra has been an inspiration in my ministry, first as a priest and later when I became a bishop. He was a Franciscan who had an apostle’s heart and a discoverer’s spirit.
Father Serra came from Spain to Mexico and then he brought the Gospel to California. The Gospel is what the Church is here on earth to proclaim, then and now. It is the good news of Jesus Christ — that God creates us and loves each of us with a Father’s love and that he calls us all to live in peace as brothers and sisters.
Father Serra spread this good news up and down California. He was a man of prayer and a lover of nature. He preached God’s compassion, fought for the dignity of women and the rights of America’s natives peoples, and he was probably the first person in the Americas to make a moral case against capital punishment. Three years before the Declaration of Independence, Father Serra had already written a bill of rights for indigenous Californians.
His canonization is a milestone for Latinos everywhere. And it will be my great privilege to be on the altar today with Pope Francis — along with many of the auxiliary bishops and priests of Los Angeles. And there are hundreds of Angelenos who have made the pilgrimage to our nation’s capital to be part of this historic ceremony.
Pope Francis is the first Latino Pope — the first to speak Spanish as his native language. And he is giving the United States of America our first Latino saint. And he has traveled all the way here, to make him a saint on our soil.
This will be a beautiful, special day, not only for Latinos, but for all Americans — and all the peoples of the Americas, North and South!"
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