We’re learning more about the new leader of the Catholic Diocese of Fresno.
Bishop Joseph Brennan succeeds Bishop Armando Ochoa.
His installation mass was at St. Anthony of Padua on Thursday afternoon.
Bishop Brennan is starting his new position, as the 6th bishop of the Diocese of Fresno during trying time for the Catholic faith, given recent scandal.
“I do accept the pastoral care of the people of God of the Diocese of Fresno,” Bishop Brennan said during the mass.
Brennan has a B.A. in Philosophy and a Masters in Divinity. He’s served churches in Los Angeles County throughout his career.
Bishop David O’Connell of the San Gabriel pastoral region has known him for 40 years.
“He was always a very kind and compassionate Priest,” Bishop O’Connell said.
In 2015, they were ordained bishops together. Bishop O’Connell adding he’s warm hearted and his humanity comes across very well in his ministry.
“I think the people of Fresno are going to be very happy with his leadership as a Bishop,” Bishop O’Connell explained.
But the Bishop is coming into some controversy.
In Bakersfield, Monsignor Craig Harrison is on leave after two people in Firebaugh and Merced are claiming sexual abuse.
“I think it’s very alarming,” said Joey Piscitelli, Northern California leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
The group says they called on the Bishop to cancel a gathering held Wednesday evening in Bakersfield in Harrison’s support but it still happened.
“I don’t have any faith in the new Bishop to do anything that’s in favor of sex abuse victims,” Piscitelli said. “I really don’t based on the fact that he allowed this vigil.”
Others are hopeful.
“I would hope that with this new leader that some of the discord that has been going on with the Catholic community that he would be able to bring us together in a positive light,” said Stephanie Gibson-Nieto.
At the end of mass on Thursday, Bishop Brennan gave his final blessing.
But the day wasn’t all about him. He also renewed the marriage vows of a couple from Norwalk celebrating 55 years together.
“It took a bit of courage to do that but it truly shows his passion of the heart and the way he will put people first,” Bishop O’Connell concluded.
The previous bishop in Fresno served for 7 years.