San Diego’s new bishop takes charge

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SAN DIEGO — The sixth bishop of the Catholic diocese of San Diego was installed today in a service at St. Therese of Carmel Church.

Robert McElroy’s appointment by the Vatican was announced last month. He was an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco.

McElroy succeeds Cirilo Flores, who died last September after battling cancer and a stroke. Steven Callahan, the pastor at Saint Brigid parish in Pacific Beach, ran the diocese on an interim basis.

“It is with great joy and happiness that I come to you today, and with great enthusiasm for all that lies before us,” McElroy told the audience during the 30-minute ceremony. He also celebrated a Mass.

He said there was no way to communicate his joy for taking over the diocese, which has been blessed by its parishes, schools, service organizations and families.

McElroy drew applause by saying that, as a sixth-generation San Diegan, he was happy that he got to root for the Padres baseball team instead of the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

He said the homeless, incarcerated, elderly, the unborn and victims of human trafficking needed to be brought into the church, and that it’s important to “build bridges” with the community in conformance with church teachings.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, and Cardinal William Leveda, the one-time archbishop of Portland and formerly a ranking member of the Vatican bureaucracy, were scheduled to attend the 1 p.m. ceremony.

Archbishops Blase Cupich of Chicago, Jose Gomez of Los Angeles and Salvatore Cordileone San Francisco were also scheduled to attend, along with retired Bishop Robert Brom of San Diego, Bishop Gilbert Chavez, the former Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego, retired Portland Archbishop John G. Vlasny and several hundred other clerics.

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