Thousands of faithful fanned out into the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels May 16 to celebrate the episcopal ordination of new Auxiliary Bishop Alejandro D. “Alex” Aclan had several moments to show their love and appreciation for the second Filipino-American to have this title in the United States.

Near the conclusion of the Mass, Aclan was in full bishop attire, taking what resembled something like a victory lap around the cathedral. Applause erupted in each section. He was accompanied by Archbishop Gomez and the two “co-consecrators” chosen by Aclan: Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Roger Mahony, and fellow Filipino-American Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City, who himself served as an auxiliary in Los Angeles from 2004 to 2017.

The scene encouraged excited visitors to raise their cellphones to take photos, reach out to touch him, and even kiss his ring.

In becoming the second Filipino elevated to bishop in the United States, in the largest archdiocese in the country that has the largest population of Filipino Catholics, Aclan was not only making history, but making more new friends by his actions and his words. 

At an ordination Mass in which the three readings were proclaimed in Tagalog, Spanish, and English — a reflection of the three languages Aclan is fluent in — it was also witness to the impact he has already had in the City of Angels, and beyond. 

“He’s the reason why I’m a priest,” admitted Father Nock Russell, who made the trip from Fayetteville, Texas, where he serves in the Diocese of Austin. Russell met Aclan at St. Finbar Church in Burbank decades ago and had similar backgrounds in the computer business world before their conversions.

“He was the one who opened my heart to God’s calling,” Russell continued. “If he moves people as much as he’s moved me, in opening one’s heart to the Holy Spirit, that’s his best quality. I’m so proud of how we’ve been very close friends. I had to be here.”

If Aclan could be given a road map on how to best serve the San Fernando Pastoral Region, he has a resource in Bishop Joseph V. Brennan, whom he is replacing as the area’s auxiliary bishop.

Installed May 2 as the sixth bishop of Fresno, Brennan said Aclan is “landing in clover, not so much because I left the region in such good shape — I can deconstruct anything in six years, they just didn’t give me enough time,” he joked.

“But I was thinking, if I could have named a successor, I would have named him,” Brennan said just prior to Thursday’s ordination. “He has a deep sense of justice and accountability. He has always brought a collaborative ministry, someone who comes to a consensus and then is not afraid to make a decision.”

“He makes tough decisions in a gentle way and can deal with serious aspects of life, situations that need attention and can sometimes be on a very painful basis. He can deal with that because, at the core of his heart, he is a joyful man.”

Full story at Angelus News.