Bishop Oscar Azarcon Solis has come to serve Utah at an important juncture in the state’s history.
Yesterday’s installation rites of a new bishop for Utah’s Catholic Diocese was a momentous event for those of the Catholic faith and for all Utahns who are beneficiaries of the kind of civic and spiritual leadership Bishop Solis promises to bring to his new home.
The Bishop will lend additional spiritual support to the state’s sizable refugee, immigrant and minority communities. He has experience in this role already, coming to Utah from serving as auxiliary bishop at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles where he was known for his outreach to these populations.
Many of those affected by the uncertainties in current immigration policy are looking to their spiritual leaders for direction and comfort. Bishop Solis, who becomes the 10th bishop in diocese history, has a long record of service in diverse parishes in which he was a “hands-on” servant with a passion for working with those most in need.
Fluent in multiple languages, he can lend his experience and skills gained while working in some of the country’s most challenging parishes, including those in Los Angeles, for example, which is the nation’s largest archdiocese with more than 5 million members.
We trust Bishop Solis will continue to embrace this role in Utah. He said upon his first visit here, “This is the spirit of America and this is the beautiful spirit of our church: to work with all people of every race, culture, language and every state of life. I see them as brothers and sisters in Christ.”
In Utah, he will see to the welfare of 300,000 Utah Catholics, a job he champions with enthusiasm and humor. In his first formal welcome to Utah, during vesper services at Salt Lake City’s stately Cathedral of the Madeleine, he pronounced, “With confidence, humbly I will say, ‘Utah I am yours’ even with the snow.”
We lend our support to Bishop Solis as he furthers a legacy of strong and compassionate leadership by Catholic leaders in the state. They have worked hard in the service of their Utah congregations and they have succeeded in forging strong ties with other denominations to serve the community.
In the chill of the late winter in Utah, we offer Bishop Solis a warm welcome and the expectation of a long and successful tenure.