Monday, February 28, 2011


Sunday, February 27, 2011 was an awesome day of God's grace for me. As I reached my 75th birthday, the time had come to relinquish my duties as the active Archbishop of Los Angeles and to welcome Archbishop Jose H. Gomez as the new Archbishop of Los Angeles.

The two Masses of Transition were celebrated in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, first in English and then in Spanish. My Coat of Arms was taken down, and that of Archbishop Gomez was installed. Archbishop Gomez was then seated in the Cathedra, the Archbishop's official "Chair" in the Cathedral.

Although the official and canonical change of episcopal leadership takes place at 12:01 AM on Tuesday, March 1st, the liturgical transition occurred on Sunday within the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Both Masses were filled to overflowing, and God's People here in Los Angeles were active participants in this historical transition. Sunday was not a day of sadness nor tears; rather, it was a day of joyous hope as we experienced God's plan of salvation being lived out in our midst. "Mahony goes; Gomez comes; but Jesus Christ remains the same"!

I am writing this blog entry at Los Angeles International Airport as I await my plane to Frankfurt, then on to Rome. While I am going to room for meetings with the Pontifical Council on Social Communications, it is also in God's Providence that the day of the transition to our new Archbishop I will be in the Eternal City of Rome. On March 3 I will celebrate a special Mass in St. Peter's for all the wonderful people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

People ask whether I am sad at moving to the new title of "Archbishop Emeritus." Absolutely not. My understanding of the Church is that Jesus Christ remains the heart and center of our Church, and we Bishops come and go down through salvation history. That is why the word "legacy" as applied to Bishops and Archbishops is so far off the mark. We are not called to develop nor to leave "legacies," but rather, to be faithful to Jesus Christ and the Gospels. We accept the Gospel, we try to live it out and to pass it on, and then we move aside so that the Lord might call others to continue the active work in the Vineyard of the Lord.

I look forward to celebrating Masses in our parishes on Sundays, and to working with others across the country to support our immigrant brothers and sisters. There is still so much priestly and pastoral work to do and I embrace that with joy, peace, and enthusiasm.

Please know of my very special prayers for all of you!!!

Photo Slideshow: Mass of Transition

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The failure of the U.S. Senate to pass the DREAM Act on December 18, 2010 was a tragedy on two counts: first, thousands of young men and women have concluded their college/university studies, and they are now prepared to get jobs which will help our economy recover and thrive; but without legal residence status, they are barred from using their education.

Second, as taxpayers we invested huge sums of money in educating these young people, and now we just toss them aside. Using the figures from the Los Angeles Unified School District, a student going from kindergarten to twelfth grade would have cost the District $130,000 [$10,000 per year, 13 years](1). Assuming that this same student then attended California State University at Northridge, he/she would have cost the Cal State system $10,901 per year--a total of $43,604 for four years (2).

That is a grand total of $173,604 spent on that student. What an incredible investment in a young person who is now ready and eager to use his/her talents for the betterment of our country and our economy. And yet, short-sighted legislators seem to discount the true value of each young person in an undocumented status, and to discount the huge outlay of tax funds to education them.

Just when these young people are equipped to get a job and begin paying taxes, we toss them aside. Their only recourse is to find minimum wage work, much of it by being paid in cash with no taxes withheld.

This approach makes no sense whatsoever, and we as a nation end up depriving these young people--most of whom have grown up in the United States--of the opportunity to contribute to our society and to our economy.

The DREAM Act could accomplish so much for our nation and for our young adults who were brought here as minors years ago. That's why so many of us will continue our efforts to recognize the true value of these young people and to work to obtain legal status for them.

Let's not give up on our wonderful young people who are eager to make our country even greater!