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Spokane’s new bishop stresses importance of faith in action

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Pope Francis has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Thomas A. Daly of San Jose, Calif., to be the new bishop of Spokane, Wash. The appointment was announced in Washington March 12 by the apostolic nuncio. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of San Jose)
Pope Francis has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Thomas A. Daly of San Jose, Calif., to be the new bishop of Spokane, Wash. The appointment was announced in Washington March 12 by the apostolic nuncio. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of San Jose)

By Catholic News Service 

SPOKANE, Wash. — Bishop Thomas A. Daly, installed as bishop of Spokane at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in Spokane May 20, urged members of the congregation not to get too caught up in technology.

The bishop warned that technology can be a distraction especially when it interferes with the believer’s need for silence when God speaks to the heart.

He closed his homily with words that reflect his own sense of spirituality and devotion: “Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us. Live, Jesus, in our hearts forever.”

Bishop Daly was appointed to head the Spokane Diocese after serving as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of San Jose, California, for the past four years. Much of his ministry has been in education — as president of and teacher in a Catholic high school and an interim seminary rector. He also served for many years as vocations director and director of seminarians for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

On the national level, he currently is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

In an interview with the Inland Register, Spokane’s diocesan newspaper, in early May, the bishop spoke about the importance of priests being available for their parishioners.

He compared parish priests to general practitioners, saying they should be there to help people with their spiritual needs, demands of raising a family and the importance of faith in day-to-day life.

During his years in the diocesan vocations ministry he led regular pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, for young men and fellow priests who would spend several days at the shrine in Lourdes working with the sick, praying together and having meals together.

He said that experience began with prayer but was combined with service, similar to the ministry of St. Vincent de Paul, to whom Bishop Daly has a special devotion. He said the days in Lourdes were “basically faith in action” and included Mass every day, morning prayer and adoration in the evening that would gradually build up to a full hour, all combined with service to the poor.

The bishop said that on these trips he was not looking for young men who were “religious fanatics,” but those who have a sense of joy and energy, trying to live their faith. And while there was prayer, and service, and action, there were also times for simple fun built into the experience. “We didn’t want an over-the-top service experience, or an over-the-top religious experience.”

Bishop Daly, who was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1987, will be living at Bishop White Seminary in Spokane, as did his predecessor, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, who now heads the Chicago Archdiocese.

Spokane’s new bishop is the middle child of seven. He is a native of San Francisco. Both of his parents are deceased but the bishop remains close to his brothers and sisters, celebrating sacramental moments with them and with his 14 nieces and nephews.

He likes to spend his free time with family and he admits that it will take some adjusting to being further away from them. He also likes to relax with swimming and bicycling and the very occasional golf game.

The 55-year-old bishop said he’s looking forward to getting to know the people of the diocese and he hopes he can encourage them to find time for quiet reflection. He said retreats are important but so is turning off cell phones in church, noting that the only people who should have their phones on would be “the director of Homeland Security or maybe a heart surgeon who’s waiting to hear if a heart is ready for transplant.”

The other practical message he has for the diocese is simply: “I’m here for you.”

He noted that there is a lot of stress and pressure on people today and that as a bishop he hopes to lead people through that. “I would hope that that’s what I can provide,” he said.

Posted June 1, 2015

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