Bishop Carlos Arthur Sevilla was installed Monday as bishop of Yakima, becoming the first Hispanic to be named a Catholic bishop in Washington state.
In brief remarks during the two-hour installation and Mass, Sevilla said he was moved by the warm reception he received. About 3,000 people crowded into the 2,000-seat Holy Family Church.
“It’s so warm, it’s so loving. I hope to be able to return it,” he said.
Sevilla, 61, born to Mexican immigrants in San Francisco, is a Jesuit priest who was appointed auxiliary bishop in his native city in 1988 and most recently served as vicar general of the San Francisco archdiocese.
He succeeds Bishop Francis Eugene George, who left in May to become archbishop of Portland.
Church leaders in attendance included the Most Rev. Agostino Cacciavillan, Pope John Paul II’s representative in the United States; Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy of Seattle and his predecessor, retired Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen.
Many who attended the services welcomed Sevilla as a peacemaker who could ease racial tensions in the Yakima diocese, which covers seven counties, has about 70,000 church members and is about 60 percent Hispanic.
“I think the reason God sent him here is to mend some fences,” said Barrie Gyllenswan.
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