One Year Later: Thank You
Published: October 14, 2010
It was a year ago, July 7, 2009, that I received a call from Archbishop Gregory that left me speechless, surprised and confused.
“The Holy Father appointed you to be my auxiliary bishop,” he said.
I was silent. When he prompted me to say something, my only response was, “Wow!” I’m not sure what it meant; it was perhaps an expression from the Holy Spirit.
From that point onwards, I was faced with keeping what I knew to myself until it was made public. July 27 was the day chosen to deliver the news because of the special significance it holds for me: the wedding anniversary of my parents. I thought the news would be a perfect gift for them.
My ordination took place on September 29. It was a special time and the beginning of a faith-filled experience. The special moment continues each time I preside over the Eucharist, confirmations and dedications, and yes, even during the long picture-taking sessions that take place after each ceremony.
Bishop Luis R. Zarama
My new role has also given me the opportunity to become better acquainted with our archdiocese, my brother priests and our people. I have enjoyed the time I’ve shared with them.
Meeting the bishops throughout the United States at conferences and retreats has been a privilege. It will take me some time to remember all of their names, but knowing the ones from our province, I think, is a good start. I recall attending a conference with the bishops in Baltimore—the first bishops’ conference I’ve ever taken part in. While there, I was a bit perplexed and said to myself, “What do so many bishops gathered in one place do?”
One year has passed, and the initial shock has worn down. Once again I thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve Archbishop Gregory, my brother priests and our people.
There aren’t enough words to summarize what I have gone through this past year, including the time I spent in Colombia, my birthplace. Visiting my family, friends and the people of Pasto. Visiting the parishes I attended when I was young, and recalling a childhood memory when my friends and I used a toy rifle to shoot the windows of the Cathedral located near my childhood home. A secret until today.
It has been a year full of blessings and love. I thank God, Archbishop Gregory and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Atlanta for giving me the opportunity to serve.