Mexicans Residing in LA Celebrate Their New Bishop

The assimilation process is but a distant memory in southern California, as evidenced by the joy regarding the news that pro-amnesty-Archbishop Roger Mahony (and pedophile protector) will be replaced by a real Mexican, born in Monterrey.

Naturally, the local Mexes are thrilled, because the new guy is “one of us” (not an annoying American), and la Times reports it all cheerfully. Jose Gomez himself seems sent by central casting, so perfect is he with warm and trendy balony, for example remarking, “Thank God for our diversity.”

The current Archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, wears Mexi-themed cassock in the photo below, in order to pander to, er honor his many Mexican parishioners. But some don’t even respect him enough to use his real name, as noted in the article following. They prefer a genuine Mexican, not a dress-up model.

St. Michael Catholic Church of south LA was all abuzz…

Latino immigrants proud that L.A.’s next archbishop is ‘one of us’, Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2010

Word was just circulating that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles would soon have a new leader — Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Mexican-born, like most of these parishioners — replacing Cardinal Roger Mahony, set to retire next year after a quarter-century guiding his hometown see.

A pervasive sense of pride, even elation, greeted the news that a compatriot would become the heir apparent.

“Of course it makes you feel good. He’s one of us; he understands us,” said Juan Bramusco, 60, originally from Mexico’s Zacatecas state.

Many agreed that such an appointment was long overdue in an archdiocese that is now 70% Latino. But Humberto Magallanes, another volunteer, voiced a common refrain.

“The new bishop is going to have some big shoes to fill,” said Magallanes, 29, a construction worker. “Cardinal Rogelio Mahony has fought for immigrants as much as anyone.”

The scene, in miniature, captured much of the mood in Latino-dominated Catholic churches in Southern California as the leadership transition began to unfold in the nation’s most populous archdiocese.

The appointment of Gomez, poised to become the country’s highest-ranking Latino cleric, represents a watershed changing of the guard in the U.S. church, which is headed toward a Latino majority in coming years.

“It’s a recognition of the numbers, basically,” said a delighted Msgr. David O’Connell, pastor of St. Michael, as he directed parishioners to the various events Tuesday evening.

The sex-abuse scandals that have battered the church’s global image don’t seem to have deflated attendance at St. Michael and other Southern California parishes brimming with new Latino immigrants championed by Mahony and his like-minded priests.

“There’s a real contrast for us these days between what’s happening in these parishes and what’s happening in the church at large with all the scandals,” said O’Connell, a white-haired native of Ireland who has served more than three decades in Southern California. “The church is having a difficult time. But at the parish level we are experiencing this whole new vitality and energy.”

Many parishioners spoke of a sense of belonging in a world that can often feel threatening, especially for those in the country illegally, as is the case for many at St. Michael.

“In Latin America, we rely on a sense of family, but this country can be very cold sometimes, intimidating,” said Leopoldo Rivas, 36, who was attending a meeting for married couples at St. Michael with his wife, Beatriz. “Here at the church we feel we are part of a family.”

Right, America is cold and intimidating because law-abiding citizens are sick of hostile foreigners who come to steal honest people’s jobs.