SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Catholics have ended a nearly two-year wait by welcoming a new bishop to lead the church in Utah.
Oscar Solis, a native of the Philippines who spent the last thirteen years as Auxilary Bishop of Los Angeles, was installed as the tenth Bishop of the Salt Lake Diocese on Tuesday afternoon at the Cathedral of the Madeline.
"I recognize that the church in Utah, indeed the United States, is diverse and immigrant church. We come from different places,” said Solis during his homily. "Working to build inclusive communities of faith in the rich multi-cultural setting like Utah is both a challenge and an opportunity."
Bishop Solis focused on inclusiveness, calling immigrants, refugees, citizens, people of other faiths or sexual orientations, all God’s children. The message resonated with local Catholics at the service.
"I think he's going to get out and get to know the people and that's really exciting. That's what Pope Francis has talked about and that seems to be the life that he's lived,” said Kevin Cummings. "Unity, that we all become one. We are one in the body of Christ and we would be one as a family within Christ."
Elders Ballard and Christofferson of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were among a handful of religious leaders who were on hand to welcome Bishop Solis. As well, his family, some traveling from the Phillippines were there.
"He's very approachable person and he makes jokes all the time,” said Anggie Bacubas, Bishop Solis’s sister.
Solis flashed a bit of his humor when he referenced the men and women who preceded him serving Catholics in Utah as ‘Big Dogs.'
"I'm a little puppy and a mixed breed,” said Solis.
Bishop Solis was appointed to the position by Pope Francis. While he initially called the appointment a surprise, he says he believes there is a reason for him to be in Utah at this time to help unify Catholics with other faiths and with the community as a whole.