The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno formally installed its new leader, Bishop Joseph Brennan. While many are excited for his leadership, many are looking him to bring light to the diocese amidst the scandals surrounding the Catholic faith.
As the mass of installation for Brennan began at St. Anthony of Padua Church, across the street the Neocatechumenal communities in the areas of the Diocese of Fresno had a welcome of their own with music. The Neocatechumenal Way is a movement within the Catholic faith.
“We’re letting him know that we’re here in support of him. If he needs us to do anything, we’re there for him,” said Adam Benitez.
Brennan made teh same commitment to his new diocese, saying at the mass, “I do accept the pastoral care fo the people of God of the Diocese of Fresno.”
As he begins his leadership in the diocese, mass attendees said it’s critical for Brennan to address the Catholic church’s scandals.
“He’s going to have to make sure he’s forward, direct, that the rules are the rules,” Benitez said. “There should be strict rules, especially under all the things happening nowadays.”
Sexual abuse within the church was on the minds of several who attended the mass. Some having the recent case of Monsignor Craig Harrison out of Bakersfield particularly in mind, where two accusers have come forward in Firebaugh and Merced.
Stephanie Gibson-Nieto is excited for Brennan and she hopes he brings a positive light to the Diocese of Fresno and beyond.
“[I want him] to bring transparency to the church and make us look more positive,” she said.
Brennan is the Diocese of Fresno’s sixth bishop.