|For Release :
September 8, 2008
Cruz Ordained as Auxiliary Bishop for Newark Archdiocese
In the presence of two Cardinals and 20 Archbishops and Bishops of the Catholic Church, The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, today ordained The Most Reverend Manuel A. Cruz as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark. A community of some 400 priests and deacons and almost 1,500 faithful of the Archdiocese were present at this festive and moving multi-lingual liturgy held at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark.
The Most Reverend Peter L. Gerety, Archbishop Emeritus of Newark, and The Most Reverend David O. Arias, OAR, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Newark, were co-ordaining bishops.
The date of the ordination coincided with the Church's celebration of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the celebration of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre - Our Lady of Charity of Cobre - the patroness of the country of Cuba.
Bishop Cruz is a native of Cuba, and the first Cuban-born priest ordained for service in the Archdiocese of Newark.
In his homily during the ordination liturgy, Archbishop Myers stated: "The Holy Father has shown his fraternal love and affection for all of the Spanish-speaking people of the
United States, and in particular for the hundreds of thousands whom we have here in the Archdiocese of Newark. Bishop Cruz, from the very beginning of his priestly life, has cared in a particular way for Spanish-speaking people in the great Archdiocese of Newark. We are deeply grateful that the Holy Father has recognized the pastoral needs of so many people by appointing a Bishop once again who can attend to them."
The Archbishop also spoke to the selection of September 8 for the ordination. "We celebrate this liturgy on a day that is a feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary both in the universal calendar of the Church and, in a particular way, in the country of Cuba.
"Pope Benedict XVI has pointed out that 'her (Mary's) soul was the space from which God was able to gain access into humanity.' We are reminded by the prophet Micah that God had for eons intended to save the human race. The birth of Mary, who was free from sin from conception and throughout her life, was an integral part of that plan of God. Saint Paul reminds us also that God's plan pre-exists all of our individual plans and that He will surely justify and glorify those whom he has called."
Recounting the story and the significance to the Cuban people of the Blessed Virgin
under the name Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre -- Our Lady of Charity of Cobre -- the Archbishop said that the people of Cuba have since 1611 perceived the appearance of the statue of Our Lady floating in the water as a sign of God's love, leading them to the safety. "Today the statue remains a center of pilgrimage and devotion in Cuba."
In remarks to the gathered assembly, Bishop Cruz spoke of the many people who
influenced his decision to respond to the call to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. "For the religious communities who have carried me in their prayers and by the testimony of their faith, I thank you - most especially, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul from the Cuba Province, Las Misioneras del Corazon de Jesus from the Dominican Republic, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and the Carmelite monastery of Flemington, where I have been made to feel so much at home. I also keep close to my heart in prayer all the monks of the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration in Vermont. I know they were awakened by a bell in the dark of the night, as always, to pray for the Church and, today, for the Archdiocese of Newark and its new auxiliary bishop."
Bishop Cruz also spoke of his gratitude to Archbishop Myers and the two co-
consecrators, Archbishop Peter Gerety and Bishop David Arias, to the many bishops and priests, deacons, men and women in Religious life, seminarians, and laity who joined in the celebration. He also acknowledged his family - "my dear mother and father in heaven, my sister and her husband, all my nieces and nephew, and all friends" for their support throughout his priesthood. "I thank you from the bottom of my heart," he said.
"I also want to express my gratitude for those who are not here today - especially the sick and homeless whom I have tried to care for throughout my years as a priest," the new bishop continued. "Their faith and prayers, and their witness to the Suffering Christ, mean so much to me."
Summing up his thoughts on his new ministry, Bishop Cruz told the community in
The Cathedral Basilica: "I ask you to pray for me, that as I strive to share the gifts of faith, hope and love with all the people of God, I may put into practice the greatest of these gifts, LOVE."
Following the liturgy, the new bishop met with parishioners from throughout the Archdiocese who had gathered at the Archdiocesan Center across from the Cathedral Basilica to share in the joy of the occasion.
Bishop Cruz will serve as the Regional Bishop for Union County, and as Vicar for Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese.