Today at 12:00 noon, Rome time, (which as an early 5 a.m. San Antonio time) the Vatican announced that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, had appointed Bishop Gustavo García-Siller, up until now auxiliary bishop of Chicago, the new archbishop of San Antonio.
Archbishop-Designate García-Siller is 53 years old and has been a bishop for seven years. He was born in San Luís, Potosí, México. As a young man he joined the Religious Order, Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, and in 1984 was ordained a priest in Guadalajara, México. As a priest, he was involved in seminary formation work, teaching and instructing seminarians, as well as in parish ministry. He carried out this ministry in México, in California, and in the state of Oregon. From 1999 to 2003 he served as the major superior for his religious community, and in January of 2003 he had been elected the Provincial Superior for his community in the United States. His work in this post was very short-lived, since a short two months later he would be chosen to serve as the auxiliary bishop of Chicago.
I met Archbishop-Designate García-Siller two and a half years ago, when I, as a newly ordained bishop, attended my first national bishops’ conference. It was there that a group of young auxiliary bishops invited me for dinner, and it was then that a delightful and wonderful friendship would begin. I grew to respect and think highly of the young, wise, thoughtful bishop from Chicago. So when the papal nuncio called to inform me that he would be our new archbishop, I literally jumped out of my chair and made my best Spurs-like fist pump in the air, “Yes!” And that was not just because I would be able to unload a lot of work onto his desk — although I am not unhappy about that.
I am delighted that the Holy Father sends us a shepherd who knows deeply the Good Shepherd. One who is passionate about his love for Jesus Christ, about his love for the Church, and about his love for his sheep. He is a shepherd who will quickly come to love the people of San Antonio. He will pray for us daily.
It is with no further ado that I introduce to you the 6th Archbishop of San Antonio, Archbishop-Designate Gustavo García-Siller.