Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

One Year Later: Thank You

By BISHOP LUIS R. ZARAMA, Commentary | Published October 14, 2010  | En Español

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.

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.