The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has honored six priests of the Diocese of San Jose as members of the Papal Household with the title of “Monsignor,” for which Bishop Patrick J. McGrath nominated them in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of the diocese.
“These priests have given exemplary service in the many pastoral and administrative positions in which they have served,” Bishop McGrath said.
“As we honor them, we also honor a legacy of service that includes all of the priests whose ministry has enriched the life of this local Church these 30 years and for the many years that we were part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco,” he added.
The new Monsignors are:
• Prelate of Honor: Rev. Msgr. Stephen F. Perata, pastor emeritus of St. Victor Parish, San Jose.
• Chaplains to His Holiness: Rev. Msgr. Jerónimo Gutiérrez, pastor, Christ the King Parish, San Jose; Rev. Msgr. Wilfredo S. Manrique, pastor, St. Christopher Parish, San Jose; Rev. Msgr. Hien Minh Nguyen, pastor, St. Patrick Proto-Cathedral, San Jose; Rev. Msgr. Eugene Patrick O’Donnell, pastor, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, San Jose; and Rev. Msgr. Francisco David Ríos, pastor, St. John Vianney Parish, San Jose.
A special Vespers ceremony, Evening Prayer for the Conferral of Ecclesiastical Honors, was held April 2 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, presided by Bishop McGrath.
In his homily, the bishop began, “’Do not neglect the grace of God that you have received.’ These words that the Church gives us in our brief Scripture passage this evening is most fitting for this occasion in which we celebrate the investiture of six monsignors.
“The grace of Baptism and of Holy Orders, indeed the grace given freely by God to all who minister in the Church, can never be overlooked or neglected.
“We know that in Baptism each of us shares in the universal call or vocation to holiness; this does not come from ordination, marriage or religious profession or commissioning to ministry.
“One might say that the grace of Baptism is fine-tuned, depending upon the needs of the Church and the requisite gifts of the baptized who offer themselves for the service of that same Church,” the bishop said.
“We remember that Jesus offered words of encouragement to his disciples: ‘You did not choose me; it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit.’ In a way, the Lord tells us that ministry is not our right, but a gift that he bestows upon us. . .always for the good of God’s people,” Bishop McGrath said.
“Tonight, we honor six priests for their faithful service to our local Church. These priests are representative of their brothers in the ministry. In honoring them, we honor our entire presbyterate and those who collaborate with them in their pastoral and administrative work.
“My brothers, Steve, Gene, Jerónimo, Hien, Willie and Francisco, you know full well that it is by God’s grace that you celebrate the sacred mysteries, proclaim the Word, show the compassion of the Lord, and reach out to those in need. Without the Lord, nothing we do will bear fruit that endures; with him, we can accomplish what seems impossible,” Bishop McGrath concluded.