​God lifts us up so we can lift others up, archbishop tells cathedral parishioners on Mary’s feast

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God lifts us up so we can lift others up, archbishop tells cathedral parishioners on Mary’s feast

Father Carlos Velazquez was installed as rector of San Fernando Cathedral on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary August 15 by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS.

The archbishop said the event served as a good reminder to always affirm every person who comes at San Fernando as a child of God and a person of dignity and respect, as everyone there was someone special. “This community celebrates all people of every ethnic and racial group, poor and rich, citizen and immigrant. It is the gathering place of San Antonio for almost three centuries,” Archbishop Gustavo explained. “It is the religious address of the city, the marker of faith that stands in the center of our community proclaiming to all that God is in our midst. It is especially a place for the poor and the lowly, for those who need consolation and comfort in God’s presence.”

The archbishop stressed that it was important to note that the gospel on the feast of the Assumption shows the first thing Mary does after accepting to carry God in her womb and be the mother of Jesus. She immediately thinks, not of herself and her many needs to prepare for her first childbirth, but of her elderly cousin, Elizabeth. The gospel says Mary went in haste. “Like Elizabeth, many people in our community are in great need in so many ways,” lamented the San Antonio prelate. “We certainly have seen that with the terrible pandemic that has affected so many around the world and here in our city. People need each other now more than ever.”

The Missionary of the Holy Spirit asked listeners, “Do we realize everything God has done for us? Have we completed what God has sent us to do?” He replied, “Our life is to be a witness to what God has done in us, just as Mary witnessed with her life, all the way to the foot of the cross and beyond.”

Archbishop Gustavo explained that San Fernando Cathedral is also a witness; a witness to faith.

“For over 290 years it has stood at the center of this community as a testament to the faith of those who built it, sustain it and gather in it for worship. To be in this place is to taste a little bit of paradise,” he smiled. “The sturdy stones, the soaring ceiling, the stained glass depicting great saints of the past, the inspiring retablos, the beautiful statues all inspire us on our journey of faith towards heaven. The many traditions here from the Passion Play to the Serenata de Guadalupe remind us of the mysteries of faith.”

Speaking directly to Father Velazquez, the archbishop told him that, as the new rector of the cathedral, he will need to always take time to be inspired by the faith of the people there, especially the poor, the elderly, the immigrant, and the homeless. “They are totally dependent on God since they have such few things in this world. In many ways, they are the privileged ones who show us God’s love and care,” he emphasized. “They show us how we must live our lives dependent on God and then share what we receive from God with others. Pray that you will have that kind of faith to live your life recognizing your dependence on God.”

On the feast of the Assumption of Mary, Archbishop Gustavo concluded the liturgy by urging the faithful to be committed as Mary was to celebrate all God has done for us and to respond by carrying Jesus inside of us to others.