The episcopal ordination of Bishop Robert F. Christian, OP, as San Francisco’s 18th auxiliary bishop on June 5 at San Francisco’s St. Mary’s Cathedral cast the role as one of service over honor and achievement.
Priests and deacons numbering almost 300 including some 100 Dominicans and more than 20 bishops joined with family, friends and women religious for the ordination of Bishop Christian. A fourth-generation San Franciscan and Dominican priest for 42 years, Bishop Christian was master of students for the Dominican Western Province at St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland when he was appointed to the role of bishop by Pope Francis in March.
“Father Robert, your diligence in teaching the faith of the Apostles through instruction and formation of future church leaders will serve you well in your new episcopal ministry among us,” said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone in his homily. “We give thanks to God and to Pope Francis for electing you to this office which you will exercise as a good shepherd, seeking the good of your people and not worldly gain or honor.”
Noting that the day was Election Day in San Francisco, the archbishop said that in the Bible, election is the action of God, a call to service. “To be God’s elect entails a form of existence different from that of the rest of the people,” he said, but not for the purpose of making oneself out to be better than others. “Separation from, is also a separation for.”
Bishop Christian is the first Dominican bishop since Dominican Father Joseph Sadoc Alemany became the first Archbishop of San Francisco in 1850. Archbishop Cordileone thanked the Order of Preachers for what he called the “exemplary leadership and tireless pastoral care” it has provided to the people of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and beyond.
Bishop Christian said, “I am ultimately someone who was given a sacramental character by Christ, enabling me to join a college that keeps the church in right doctrine, preaches that doctrine handed down from the apostles even when it seems to engender indifference or hostility,” he said. “And which promotes the pursuit of happiness by promoting the pursuit of holiness.”
Full story at Catholic San Francisco.