Statement of Bishop Edmond Carmody
Given at the press conference announcing his appointment as Bishop-Designate of the Diocese of Corpus Christi
February 3, 2000
Your Excellency Archbishop Gonzalez, my brother priests, my dear religious sisters and brothers, deacons, and good friends in the Lord Jesus Christ,
I wish to thank you for your being here this morning for this press conference. I well understand the sacrifices that you had to make in order to be present for this occasion.
I certainly wish to thank the media personnel, both written, audio and video, for your presence here for without you most of the good that is done in the world will go unnoticed. We all know that the pen is mightier than the sword and you members of the media make that possible. I appreciate the difficult job that you have, and I promise to be thoroughly responsive to you during my time as Bishop in this fair city. In fact, it is from your reporting that we can evaluate how successful our ministry is to our people.
I wish to thank Archbishop Gonzalez for the great work that he accomplished here in this diocese during a short few years. I certainly have no intention of trying to fill his shoes, rather I will take them and bronze them and place them on the mantle piece and carry on. Archbishop Gonzalez, there is an old Chinese saying that the seed never sees the flower, and, in your case, we would have to say that the good seeds that you have planted here that you will never see them blossom. We wish you well in your great Archdiocese of San Juan.
This morning, I wish to thank Almighty God who has given all of us so many gifts and for some, he has given the gift of priesthood. I thank Almighty God for 42 years of priesthood that He has given to me. This gift has brought joy to my life whether as a parish priest in San Antonio, a chancery worker, an auxiliary bishop, bishop in Tyler or a missionary in Guayaquil, Ecuador. I wish to thank Pope John Paul, H for the confidence that he has placed in me in naming me your Shepherd. I appreciate the sweet yoke that he has given me.
When the Lord Jesus walked through Galilee, he wandered from town to town. I, too, hope to wander around this great diocese from parish to parish, from Catholic school to Catholic school. from Catholic hospital to Catholic hospital, from Catholic institution to Catholic institution and to meet the members who work so diligently in those areas, and also to any other institution that will welcome me. I present myself to you as a servant, seeking not to be ministered to but to minister to you for whom I have been called to serve.
I invite the priests, seminarians, religious, deacons, lay people, interfaith and ecumenical leaders and our civic leaders to join together in our struggle to make this world a place of justice peace and joy. We have to unite as one team and on our team we can have no pretenders for we are committed to the mission of the Lord.
Highway 37 maybe the spine of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, but you and I are the heart and the head of this part of the vineyard. We, the Church, have to create a neighborhood where everyone can be at home and feel safe and feel accepted.
I come now as your Bishop but in the years to come, I will work hard to be your brother, a brother who strives to be known by you and you to be known by me. I have been working with priests in a very close mariner for nearly 40 years, both in the Diocese of Tyler, the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Archdiocese of Guayaquil, and I have found the vast majority of priests to be good, dedicated, holy men. No doubt, a very few have committed very serious crimes and made horrifying mistakes and were seriously sinful, but as a group, Catholic priests are good people, faithful to God and worthy of people's trust. I certainly am proud to be a Catholic priest for 42 years.
You and I today warm ourselves from fires we never built, and we drink from wells we never dug. It's incumbent upon us now to build fires so that future generations can experience a warmth, and dig wells whereby future generations can quench their thirst. The mission of the Lord must go on.
To me, a bishop has to show steel-like strength of the Church's open heartedness. He must not show the slightest trace of harshness and must have a limitless and active sympathy for all human sorrow. He must in every word and action be gentle, he must be emotionally stable and even smile in the midst of all criticism. He must be adaptable, flexible, available but total in immersed in Jesus Christ.
I leave the Diocese of Tyler with a heavy heart as it has been my home, my family for eight years. I arrived in Tyler knowing one person, but I leave having thousands of friends. May the Lord bless them as they await their next shepherd.
I come to you, the people of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, as your Shepherd, standing face to face with you because we are all disciples in the school of Jesus Christ.