Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bishop Kevin W. Vann: February 1, 2014, celebrating Mass at Saint Barbara Catholic Church with the Neocatechumenal Way

On The Occasion of the First Anniversary of the Installation of Our Shepherd in the Diocese of Orange, The Most Reverend Bishop Kevin Vann

In the month of September, I was asked to celebrate a Mass for handicapped children and families at St. Barbara’s parish in Orange. It was sponsored by our offices of Pastoral Ministry, Hispanic Ministry, and Respect Life, Justice and Peace. Much of the work and preparation for this event was done by families of the Neocatechumenal Way. I would like to thank all of them, and in particular, Fr. Augustine Vu, who is the parochial administrator of St. Barbara’s parish, and Deacon Guillermo Torres (director of the Office of Hispanic Minisitry), who assisted me at the Mass.

The church was filled to capacity and overflowing of families and their children with special needs (“discapacidades” in Spanish), many of them with Down syndrome. This Mass was a testimony to so many aspects of the pro-life ministry and apostolic work.
Here were so many immigrant families who brought their children to life rather than choosing abortion.

Here as well were so many families, and others, who now care for these children and young people. Having brought these children to birth, these community members and families now assist each other in the ongoing care and support of these special children. Their witness to the Gospel of Life, especially in the Hispanic and Vietnamese communities, is truly heroic. It is not only words, but deeds.
- Bishop Kevin W. Vann was born on May 10, 1951 in Springfield, Illinois. He is the oldest of six children of William M. Vann Jr. and Theresa Jones Vann. He is a graduate of Springfield’s St. Agnes Grade and Griffin High Schools. He attended Springfield College and earned a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Millikin University, located in Decatur, Illinois. After working three years as a medical technologist, he entered the seminary in l976, spending a year at the Immaculate Conception Diocesan Seminary in Springfield and four years at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, majoring in theology.

After his ordination on May 30, l981, he was assigned to graduate studies in Canon Law at the Angelicum in Rome, with residence at the graduate house of the North American College in Rome, the Casa Santa Maria dell’ Umilta.
Upon returning to the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, Father Vann was involved in the work of the Diocesan Tribunal and the Tribunal of Second Instance in Chicago. He served as pastor of parishes ranging in size from 35 to 1,300 families, two of which had large schools. He taught Canon Law at Kenrick Seminary. Before he was named bishop, he was pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield, Vicar for Priests, and the Diocesan contact for Hispanic Ministry.

Bishop Vann
was ordained and installed as the third bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth on Wednesday, July 13, 2005, at Texas Christian University’s Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

In Texas, he collaborated closely with other bishops through the Texas Catholic Conference and Region X which includes dioceses of States of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. He is the former Texas Bishops’ Liaison to the Texas Mission Council and Texas Catholic hospitals. And, through the U.S. Conference of Bishops, he works with bishops across the United States as well as globally.
Bishop Vann was a leader in the Texas Conference of Bishops, providing leadership for various initiatives at the national level, including service on ad hoc committee which assisted the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to guide the incorporation of Anglican groups into the Catholic Church of the United States. He is a member of the USCCB Committee on Migration, as well as the Canonical Affairs Committee. Bishop Vann is the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith’s Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision in the United States.
On September 21, 2012, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI announced the appointment of Bishop Kevin W. Vann as the fourth Bishop of Orange.

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