Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Well done, Archbishop Niederauer!

The Holy See announced on Monday, 27 November 2006, that the former Bishop of Salt Lake City, George H. Niederauer, currently Archbishop of San Francisco, and, as such, is still Salt Lake City's metropolitan archbishop, was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The primary reason for his appointment, besides his being a master communicator with a Ph.D. in English literature, is that he is the incoming chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee for Communication.

A tidbit from the Archbishop's Baccalaureate speech this past Spring at Stanford, where he began his college education before returning to his native Los Angeles and entering the seminary:

"The journey is one of the oldest images for a human lifetime. Is it trite? Perhaps, but in our lives we do move from experience to experience, from place to place, from idea to idea, from one cluster of companions and relationships to another. Tomorrow's graduation from Stanford leads to the rest of your journey.

You are very likely grateful for the gifts given you until now: life, family, youth, a fine education and the community of your friends here. At the same time you are anticipating the journey ahead, with all its promise, changes and surprises. What now?

Of course you have your plans. I've often heard people say—not always cynically—'If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.' Of course promises do get fulfilled, plans do work out, but almost always there are surprises, unforeseen choices, adjustments and alterations.

As you navigate those twists and turns, does it help to choose an image for the journey you hope to take? Maybe so. As I look around at the cultural scene we share, two metaphors for a life journey occur to me. One is ancient, the other fairly recent. They are the ocean cruise and the pilgrimage. These images are not literal but attitudinal. You will behave differently if you believe you are on a cruise or on a pilgrimage."

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