With an estimated 2,000 in attendance, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez was installed on Monday as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Austin in a two-hour Mass at St. William Parish, the largest church in the diocese.
“Above all today, I thank God the Father, our lord Jesus Christ, and I ask that you pray for me that I may be a good shepherd,” said Bishop Vasquez, 52, who is the first Mexican-American to lead the Austin diocese.
“As the new shepherd of the Diocese of Austin, I will do my best to follow the model of the good shepherd Jesus Christ,” Bishop Vasquez pledged.
Among those in attendance were Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and the Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Pope Benedict's representative to the Catholic Church in the United States.
“The prudent servant is a man of truth and a man of reason,” said Archbishop Sambi said in his introductory remarks on Monday. “We are confident as you govern and teach you will be a prudent servant guiding your flock with their hearts set on the world that will never end.”
Bishop Vásquez succeeds Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who left the Diocese of Austin in June of 2009 to become the Archbishop of New Orleans. He also takes over the diocese from Monsignor Michael Mulvey who had been serving as temporary administrator of the diocese until a bishop was appointed. Monsignor Mulvey was appointed Bishop of Corpus Christi on January 18, leaving the 450,000 Catholics in the Austin area without a shepherd until Monday.
Following the installation Mass, the new bishop told reporters that the ceremony made him “very emotional when I think of all the people who traveled very far to see me.”
“The Mass was very touching and emotional for me,” he added. “I felt the presence of God.”