Letter regarding Bishop Carmody’s appointment

February 6, 2000

Dear Friends:

After a long night of waiting that has spanned almost a year, a Bishop has been appointed to shepherd us here in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II announced on Thursday that he was designating Bishop Edmond Carmody of the Diocese of Tyler as the Seventh Bishop of our Diocese. When he is installed on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, Archbishop Roberto will finally be able to give up the commute from San Juan to Corpus Christi and back and tend to the spiritual needs of his archdiocese.

Over the last nine months or so there has been a lot of speculation as to whom the Bishop might be. I can remember hearing Bishop Carmody’s name mentioned a number of times. But the truth of the matter is that until the Holy Father acted on recommendations made to him, it was all that rumor. When the news finally reached Archbishop Roberto that his successor would be named on Thursday, there was a mad dash to put together a Press Conference, do some preliminary planning for the visit of the Bishop Designate and his installation. One of the things that I had to do was to prepare a fax memorandum to the priests, deacons, religious men and women and all of the diocesan employees and to send it on a delayed transmission.

Knowing that it was all going to happen the next day, there was something of an urgency of notifying the various parties of the Diocese so that they could be included in welcoming the new Bishop. Wednesday afternoon was so chaotic at the Chancery with everything happening and no one able to talk about anything that I was wondering if we would survive the day. Then, as quitting time rolled around, I set about the task of setting up the delayed fax transmission, only to discover that someone else had the same idea. I had to let the fax go through three hours of ringing telephones to others around the Diocese. What I had to do was make a midnight trip to the Chancery to set the machine for transmitting the announcement of the Press Conference so that everyone had the news by six in the morning. I had never done this before and what really made it scary was the fact that I have a terrible time with anything technical, requiring anything more than a 1 and 2-step operation. This one had about six. I went through the motions believing I had set everything according to procedure, but then wasn’t really positively certain, necessitating my getting up after a restless night of an hour and a half sleep to check our own fax here at the parish to see if it worked. It did.

I was up early this morning to get to the Chancery and take care of a lot of last minute preparations for the Press Conference, though I have to admit, it took sheer energy and will power to not cave in to the tempting guile’s of sleep. Today was a long day and in less than a half-hour, I will head out with Archbishop Roberto to the Valley to attend the funeral of a friend. I asked Fr. Roger to go along to help with the driving because I’m afraid that one yawn out of the Archbishop would anesthetize me the rest of the way.

That all has been background to today’s good news, however. The real news is the fact that Bishop Carmody will be coming here to lead us within a few short weeks. He is the second oldest in a family of thirteen children, having been born in Moyvane, County Kerry, Ireland on January 12, 1934. His mother and brothers and sisters still live in Ireland.

He studied as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of San Antonio and was later ordained a priest, working in parishes in Victoria and the Alamo City. He was appointed to a number of diocesan assignments and continued to pursue some academic studies. In 1983, he felt the Lord was calling him to do missionary work in South America, joining the St. James Society. He worked in Guayaquil, Ecuador for five years and returned to the States because the Holy Father was naming him an Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Flores in San Antonio. Serving in that assignment for four years, Bishop Carmody was later transferred to Tyler, Texas where he served as the Second Bishop of that Diocese.

He comes to us now with a joyful heart, a willingness to get to work, and a sense of humor that should get him and a lot of those of us working with him through whatever lies ahead. When he noticed the large crowd that had appeared for his Press Conference, he quipped that there were more persons at this gathering than he had Catholics in the Diocese of Tyler.

There will be more about him and his pastoral ministry to and among us in the weeks ahead as the final plans move forward for his installation on March 17th. Archbishop Roberto introduced Bishop Carmody and thanked the people of this Diocese for accepting him during his all to brief time among us. His voice choked as he tried to speak which in itself said more than the words that he was trying to express. On Sunday, March 12th, there will be an opportunity for all of us to bid him goodbye and farewell, before we open our arms to our new Bishop. May the Spirit of God be with them both and give them all that they need to be faithful witnesses to the Apostles from whom they come and selfless servants to the people to whom they have been sent.

In Christ

Fr. Richard