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Pope Names San Antonio Archbishop José Gomez Coadjutor Archbishop Of Los Angeles

Created: 09 April, 2010
Updated: 26 July, 2022
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3 min read

WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI has named Archbishop José H. Gomez of San Antonio, 58, as Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles.

The naming of Archbishop Jose Gomez as the archbishop of Los Angeles is the Holy See’s most significant acknowledgment to date of the growing importance of Latinos in the American church.

The appointment of Gomez, who now leads the Archdiocese of San Antonio, puts him in line to become the highest-ranking Latino in the American Catholic hierarchy and the first Latino cardinal in the U.S.

Hispanics comprise 70 percent of the 5 million Catholics in the Los Angeles archdiocese, and more than one-third of the 65 million Catholics in the United States. In a separate nod to Latino Catholics, Benedict in 2007 named the first cardinal for heavily Latino Texas, Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

The appointment is also evidence that Pope Benedict XVI wants a strong defender of orthodoxy leading the largest diocese in the nation: Gomez, 58, is an archbishop of Opus Dei, the conservative movement favored by the Vatican.

The Mexican-born Gomez will take over the archdiocese when the current archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahony retires on Feb. 27 next year, his 75th birthday.

The appointment was made public in Washington, April 6, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

José Horacio Gomez was born in Monterrey, Mexico, December 26, 1951. He attended the National University of Mexico where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. In college he joined Opus Dei, an institution founded by Saint Josemaria Escrivá to help people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, serving other and improving society. Opus Dei became a personal prelature in 1982. Archbishop Gomez studied theology in Rome and at the University of Navarre in Spain, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in theology and a doctorate in moral theology. He was ordained a priest of Opus Dei, August 15, 1978, in Torreciudad, Spain.

After ordination he pursued pastoral work with college and high school students in Spain and Mexico. In 1987, he was sent to what was then the Diocese of Galveston-Houston to minister for Opus Dei in several capacities in Texas. He became a U.S. citizen in 1995.

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As a priest, Father Gomez held positions with several U.S. Catholic organizations. Between 1995-1999, he was president of the National Association of Hispanic Priests (ANSH) and its executive director, 1999-2001. He was treasurer of the National Catholic Council of Hispanic Ministry, 1998-2001.

In 1999, he became the Vicar of Opus Dei for the State of Texas. Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Denver, January 23, 2001. On December 29, 2004 the Pope appointed him Archbishop of San Antonio.

As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Gomez was first chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, and now chairs the Committee on National Collections’ Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America and the Task Force on the Spanish-language Bible. He is chair-elect of the Committee on Migration and a member of the Committee on Doctrine.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony was appointed Archbishop of Los Angeles July 15, 1985. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals, June 28, 1991. Prior to this appointment he served as Auxiliary Bishop of Fresno, California, 1975-1980, and Bishop of Stockton, California, 1980-1985.

The Los Angeles Archdiocese, the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States, includes 8,762 square miles. It has a population of 11,606,889 with 4,176,296, or 36 percent, of them Catholic.

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