I have been a priest for 54 years and more than half of that time was spent as a bishop. People are always asking me how I liked the work and were always curious about “what do you do?” My favorite answer to that was always that being a bishop was much like either being an orchestra leader or a fireman. As an orchestra leader, I tied all the various programs of the diocese together, never made a sound and, like the man with the baton, got credit for everything. As a fireman, I found myself constantly putting out fires generated by hypersensitive people who took everything too seriously.
I have given a great deal of thought to the pleasure and pain of those 54 years and there is one thing that I would like to mention to the readers today, and that is one particular aspect of the office of bishop that I enjoyed tremendously. That was the fact that I was in a position, time after time- dozens and possibly hundreds of times- to see extraordinarily wonderful things, good and generous things, important things, generated by an individual person who saw a problem and had the courage to undertake at least a partial solution. I salute those people and thank God for what they have done for others, and I was certainly one of their beneficiaries.
I think I am going to take these programs up one by one and fill you in on so much extraordinary generosity that is accomplished so very quietly with little fanfare or publicity. I will start tomorrow with Casa Marianella over in East Austin.