Well, good morning, everyone. And it’s wonderful to be with
you today, and many thanks for your presence here in the beautiful
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis this morning.
Just over two weeks
ago, I received the very surprising news that our Holy Father, Pope
Francis, had named me the 10th archbishop of St. Louis. Mindful of God’s
goodness, I wish to express my gratitude to our Holy Father for his
trust that he has placed in me, and to Archbishop Christophe Pierre, our
papal nuncio to the United States, for this appointment. I also want to
thank deeply Archbishop Robert Carlson for his solicitude to me ever
since he was informed of my appointment.
I know on behalf of all
of us that I thank Archbishop Carlson for his service to this Church of
St. Louis over these past 11 years; for his steady leadership and living
out the Gospel message in such a beautiful, humble way. I know that I
will count on his wise counsel and his wisdom in the days, weeks, and
This is a troubled time for our nation. We are still
experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 virus, the death of Mr. George
Floyd, and the sad specter of racism that tears at the very fabric of
our country. Jesus has entrusted to us His Church to be His presence in
our world, particularly here, in the city and the surrounding areas of
Jesus did not avoid any person or situation that was
uncomfortable. He walked into those difficult circumstances bringing the
healing presence of God. All of us stand in need of that healing
presence — personally, communally, and as a nation. It is my hope that,
called to lead this Church of St. Louis, God’s grace will be in
abundance in helping me to be part of that healing process and
resolution to all of the daunting issues that we face. No leader,
though, can do this alone. We must work together if we truly want to
realize the mandate of Jesus to bring justice and peace to our families,
our communities, our nation, and world.
Over these past six
years, I’ve been graced to serve as the Bishop of Springfield,
Massachusetts. The good people of Springfield are hearing this news
today, just as you are. I want to thank God for these past six years and
to tell the people of Springfield how grateful I am to them for their
welcome to me when I first arrived, for their collaboration with me over
these six years, and I want them to know they are in my prayers as they
now experience this time of (transition). Good-byes are never easy, but
we remain close in faith.
As the installation on Aug. 25 draws
near, I look forward to getting to meet the priests, deacons, women and
men religious, and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I
humbly ask for your prayers and pledge to you that I will do my best to
serve the Lord and you, His people here, in the Archdiocese of St.
Again, thank you very much.