José Horacio Gómez facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsThe Most Reverend José Horacio Gómez Velasco
|Archbishop of Los Angeles
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
|Appointed||April 6, 2010 (Coadjutor)|
|Enthroned||March 1, 2011|
|Other posts||President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2019–)|
|Ordination||August 15, 1978|
|Consecration||March 26, 2001
by Charles Chaput, Joseph Fiorenza, and Javier Echevarría Rodríguez
|Birth name||José Horacio Gómez Velasco|
December 26, 1951 |
Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
|Nationality||Mexican & American|
|Motto||Adeamus cum fiducia ad thronum gratiae
(Let us confidently approach the throne of grace)
|Coat of arms|
José Horacio Gómez Velasco
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
José Horacio Gómez Velasco (born December 26, 1951) is a Mexican-born American prelate of the Catholic Church. He became the fifth Archbishop of Los Angeles in 2011. He served as Auxiliary Bishop of Denver from 2001 to 2004 and as Archbishop of San Antonio from 2004 to 2010.
Beginning on November 15, 2016, Gómez served as vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; his term as vice president ended with his election as president on November 12, 2019. He is the first person of Hispanic descent to hold both positions.
Early life and education
Gómez was born in Monterrey, Mexico, to José H. Gómez and Esperanza Velasco. He has three older sisters and one younger sister. He attended the Monterrey Institute of Technology before entering the National University of Mexico where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 1975. While attending college, he joined Opus Dei, a Catholic organization founded by Saint Josemaría Escrivá which teaches people to seek holiness in their ordinary activities.
From 1975 to 1980, Gómez studied at the University of Navarre, in Spain, earning his bachelor's degree and a licenciate in theology.
On August 15, 1978, Gómez was ordained a priest of Opus Dei by Cardinal Franz König at the Shrine of Torreciudad in Spain. In 1980, he obtained a Doctor of Sacred Theology from the main campus of the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain. He then pursued pastoral work with college and high school students in Spain and Mexico. From 1987 to 1999, Gómez was in residence at Our Lady of Grace Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he assisted in the pastoral work of the parish. During this period, he also helped in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston in Katy, Texas. He became a U.S. citizen in 1995.
In 1991, Gómez became a regional representative of the National Association of Hispanic Priests. He became its president in 1995 and served as executive director from 1999 to 2001. In 2003, he earned the annual National Association of Hispanic Priests Award, "El Buen Pastor". From 1997 to 1998, he served as a member-at-large on the board of directors for the National Catholic Council of Hispanic Ministry, and was elected its treasurer in 1999. From 1998 to 2000, he was on the steering committee for Encuentro 2000, a national celebration of the Jubilee Year 2000. Along with Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, he played a key role in the establishment of the Hispanic Seminary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, which opened in August 2000. He also spearheaded the establishment of Centro San Juan Diego for Family and Pastoral Care, a place for formation of lay leaders and a base to provide welcoming services to immigrants, in Denver, Colorado. In 1999, he became the vicar of Opus Dei for Texas.
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver
On January 23, 2001, Pope John Paul II appointed Gómez auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Denver and titular bishop of Belali. He received his episcopal consecration on March 26 from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, with Bishops Joseph Fiorenza and Javier Echevarría Rodríguez as co-consecrators. He chose as his episcopal motto "Adeamus cum fiducia ad thronum gratiae", meaning "Let us confidently approach the throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16). He was the first numerary member of Opus Dei to be consecrated a bishop in the United States. As a bishop, he is no longer a member of that organization since he reports to the pope and thus does not answer to the prelate in charge of Opus Dei. Gómez has said he is not a "member" of Opus Dei, but rather that he was ordained a priest in Opus Dei and that his spirituality reflects that background.
Gómez served as rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver from 2001 to 2003. He next served as both moderator of the curia and pastor of Mother of God Church.
Archbishop of San Antonio
Gómez was appointed Archbishop of San Antonio on December 29, 2004. In 2005 he was named one of Time's 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States, and in 2007 he was on CNN's list of "Notable Hispanics" in a web special celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. In 2006, Archbishop Gómez officially introduced The Catholic Community Foundation for the Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. In 2007, he was instrumental in bringing together Hispanic leaders and Catholic bishops for the creation of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL).
During his tenure in San Antonio, Gómez earned a reputation as an orthodox leader who reversed some of the more liberal-leaning initiatives in the diocese. He disbanded the chancery's Justice and Peace Commission after its members expressed their opposition to his support of a state constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage. ..... He also voiced concerns when another Catholic university, Our Lady of the Lake University, allowed a high-profile nun who some claim supports female ordination to be a keynote speaker at an event. He welcomed Summorum Pontificum, which granted greater freedom to the Tridentine Mass, saying it would preserve "the rich heritage and legacy of the Church".
He is a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America in the Roman Curia and of the Board of Trustees at The Catholic University of America. As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America; in the latter capacity, he led a three-bishop delegation to Haiti to assess the situation there following its 2010 earthquake. He is also chairman-elect of the Committee on Migration, chairman of the Task Force on the Spanish-language Bible, and a member of the Committee on Doctrine.
Archbishop of Los Angeles
On April 6, 2010, Gómez was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Pope Benedict XVI. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest Catholic diocese in the nation, with Hispanics comprising more than two-thirds of the archdiocese's five million Catholics. Gómez succeeded Cardinal Mahony on March 1, 2011, with a transition ceremony held on February 27, 2011. He is the first Hispanic to serve as Archbishop of Los Angeles, as well as the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the United States. He said: "I'm very grateful to the Holy Father for giving me this opportunity to serve the Church with a mentor and leader like Cardinal Roger Mahony. I'm grateful to the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, for supporting the Holy Father's confidence in me. I will try with all my strength to earn that trust."
Considered theologically conservative, Gómez is also viewed as "a natural conciliator admired for uniting rich and poor and Anglo and Hispanic Catholics". He is regarded as more conservative than his predecessor, Cardinal Mahony. Addressing this belief, however, Mahony said that "these labels of 'conservative' and 'liberal' are really unhelpful in the life of the church" and "I can attest that both of us share a common commitment to Christ and to the Church, and that both of us are interested in promoting the teachings of the Church fully as well as bringing the words and example of Christ to today's society and world." Gómez also said it would be wrong for observers to conclude he was a conservative because he was a priest of Opus Dei.
On September 18, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Gómez one of the Synod Fathers for the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization in October 2012.
On November 24, 2012, he was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
On January 31, 2013, Gómez stated that Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Emeritus, would "no longer have any administrative or public duties" for the Los Angeles Archdiocese. ..... He said: "I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed. We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today."
Under Gómez's stewardship and with his blessing, the Queen of Angels Foundation, a public association of the faithful under canon law founded by Mark Anchor Albert, has since 2011 revived the lapsed custom of sponsoring a Marian procession and Votive Mass in commemoration of the founding of the City of Los Angeles on September 4, 1781. Since 2012 Gómez has been the principal celebrant of this annual Mass in honour of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles (Our Lady of the Angels), patroness and namesake of the city and county of Los Angeles.
On Friday, November 14, 2014, during the fall meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Gómez was elected to serve as one of the delegates to the 2015 World Synod of Bishops on the Family, pending Vatican approval.
On November 15, 2016, he was elected vice-president of the USCCB, and on November 12, 2019, he was elected President of the USCCB. He is the first Latino bishop to hold the post.
Views and theology
The archbishop has long been an outspoken defender of immigrants, including the undocumented. In 2013, he published Immigration and the Next America, connecting the rights of immigrants to the highest principles of the American tradition.
In mid-2015, the archbishop sent a letter to the state Assembly Health Committee to voice his objections to a vote on legislation that would permit adults with a terminal illness to seek medication from a doctor to end their lives. In it, Gómez urged the members to reject legislation that "has dangerous implications for our state, especially the poor and the most vulnerable". He added that "helping someone die – even if that person is desperate and asks for the help – is still killing".
Gómez has also said that legalizing euthanasia "is the beginning of tyranny" in which "we are crossing a line – from being a society that cares for those who are aging and sick to a society that kills those whose suffering we can no longer tolerate". Gómez reflected upon the fact that euthanasia was a moral failure that also invites ambiguities over how such policies may be practiced, believing that it would also worsen the inequalities in the healthcare system.
In 2020, Archbishop Gómez issued a statement on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in which he condemned the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis as "senseless and brutal". He said that the protests following Floyd's murder reflected "the justified frustration and anger of millions", taking the opportunity to condemn the "humiliation, indignity, and unequal opportunity" based on race. The archbishop called for greater tolerance and to ensure that racism is removed from all aspects of the community to foster greater harmony.
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