FILIPINO AUXILIARY Bishop Oscar Azarcon Solis shows his appointment, Apostolic Letter, in Latin, as the 10th Bishop of Salt Lake City in Utah during his installation at a Holy Mass last Tuesday (March 7) at Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake. (JGL Photograb from ksl.com)
By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
SALT LAKE CITY (JGL) – Filipino auxiliary Bishop Oscar Azarcon Solis of Los Angeles, California said at his installation as the 10th Bishop of Salt Lake City in Utah last Tuesday (March 7) that he was very happy that the ceremony befits a “Hollywood” spirit.
In the opening of his 20-minute folksy homily, Bishop Solis cracked after an elaborate hymnal introduction, “I feel I never left Los Angeles. It sounded like Hollywood. I am so pleased there is a Hollywood spirit in the Diocese of Salt Lake. I must confess there is something going on in the pulpit and you feel the ground moving or is it my knees” to the laughter of the hundreds of parishioners and guests inside the cavernous Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake.
Among the guests, who turned up were the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishops Christophe Pierre, Bernardito “Barney” Cleopas Auza, (Filipino Archbishop), Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, San Francisco Metropolitan Salvatore Cordileone, Jose Gomez, and Jose Palma, who came all the way from Cebu, Philippines, bishops, priests, deacons and their wives, men, women of the religious and consecrated life, his family, including his sisters Celia Solis Tapia, who came from the Philippines, and Angie Solis Pacubas, who came from San Jose, California;
Representatives of the dominant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and ministers from the diverse community. There were also government dignitaries and civic leaders and guests, among them Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea of Philippine President Rody Duterte.
Speaking in English, Tagalog and Spanish, Bishop Solis paid tribute to his flock for “anxiously waiting for the new bishop’s” arrival after nearly two years when his predecessor, 9th Bishop John Charles Wester was appointed Archbishop of Santa Fe, Mexico in 2015.
Solis, a native of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija in the Philippines, said, “The diocese of Salt Lake City has been anxiously waiting for the new bishop. And God has answered your prayers. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us give thanks, rejoice and be glad.
“Our loving and faithful God has blessed once again this diocese. It has been faithfully revealed and manifested to all those years.
“One of the greatest blessings of the diocese of Salt Lake City has are the wonderful men and women ministers and God’s people living faithful to the vision of evangelization of God’s people as they continue living their faith strongly and vibrantly even without a shepherd.”
I DON’T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS
However, he cautioned the faithful, “I do not claim to have all the answers. I know you waited so long, and have put too much high expectations on me. Please, may I remind you of my name? It is Oscar Solis, not Jesus Christ,” drawing laughter from the crowd.
“I am not a Messiah. But just a humble servant. So, I invite you and encourage you to work with me to create this culture of dialog and encounter with our Holy Father Pope
Francis. But not just a kind of dialog but a transformative one that leads us together to God.”
He is thankful for the warm welcome accorded him by the diocese of Salt Lake, which covers the entire state of Utah. “I recognize that the church in Utah indeed the church and the U.S. is diverse and an immigrant church. We come from different places. We speak different languages. We have different cultural backgrounds. Each of us has a different story and a different history. And now we call this beautiful state of Utah our home.
“My dear friends. It is not a coincidence that our stories are meeting here in the midst of the Wasatch and Raft River mountains.”
Bishop Solis added, “Tayo po ay tinawag ng ating Panginoon Diyos upang ipahayag ang ebangilyo at mabuting balita upang magising ang mga puso ng mamamayan para mabuhay na nagkakaisa at bilang mga anak ng Diyos.” (We are called by our God in order evangelize and spread the Good News to wake us up so that the hearts of our people come alive and unite as children of God.”
Bishop Solis also took a dig at the political Establishment, saying, “In our world today, and even in our nation, the right of religious freedom is under attack. We are ridiculed
because we proclaim the truth about the sanctity of life from conception to natural death because we call for people in all stages of life to be given protection, dignity and respect as sons and daughters of God.
“Whether, they are in the mother’s womb, young or old, rich or poor, healthy or
in ill health, immigrant or refugee, or a resident citizen, we are all God’s children. We recognize that it is imperative for us to provide everyone what is necessary to help each other live and grow in order to fulfill their God given potential.”
Bishop Solis explained that governments should welcome immigrants, not alienate them, quoting Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (email@example.com)