Dominican Fathers, parish express mixed feelings

Friday, Feb. 03, 2006
Dominican Fathers, parish express mixed feelings + Enlarge
Associate Pastor Dominican Father James Thompson and Pastor Dominican Father Peter Rogers. photo courtesy of the Dominicans

SALT LAKE CITY — While assigned to St. Dominic’s Church in San Francisco, I received the news that our archbishop, Most Reverend William Levada, would be moving to Rome. I heard in my head, "BISHOP GEORGE NIEDERAUER!" Bishop Niederauer came immediately to mind as Archbishop Levada’s replacement. When I shared that with my Dominican brothers at St. Dominic’s, they all agreed; Bishop Niederauer would be a natural choice, and we all hoped that he would be appointed to replace Archbishop Levada. But when I received my assignment as Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center in Salt Lake City, I prayed, "No, God, keep Bishop Niederauer in Salt Lake City!" I very much wanted to work with Bishop Niederauer.

Before entering the Dominican Order, I lived in Salt Lake City, and was blessed to be at Bishop Niederauer’s ordination at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Over the years, I have met Bishop Niederauer on many occasions, including at some events at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. Upon receiving my assignment in Salt Lake City, I presented myself to Bishop Niederauer and it was not so much an introduction but a ‘Welcome home!’ and ‘Good to see you again!’ meeting.

Bishop Niederauer has been a true gift to this diocese, meeting the needs of the Catholic community throughout the entire state of Utah. In doing so, he has been careful to look at each individual parish to work with the pastors and parish leaders, allowing each parish to flourish according to the distinct congregational needs of the parish. We at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center at the University of Utah are grateful for Bishop Niederauer’s support of our parish community, of all that we have done in our ministry to the Catholic community at the University of Utah, and especially during our renovation and expansion phase, adding a new worship space to the front of our old building.

We will miss you, Bishop Niederauer, but are proud that you have been chosen to lead the diverse and wonderful archdiocese of San Francisco and are confident that you will be successful in fulfilling your calling by God to lead the Catholic faithful in that archdiocese. Your warm smile, welcoming attitude toward all, your understanding of diverse cultural needs, and friendly approach to all who come to you will be gifts that will warm the hearts of the faithful in San Francisco, as has been our experience with you here. God bless you and may the Holy Spirit always guide you.

Fr. Peter Rogers, Pastor; Fr. James Thompson, Associate Pastor; and the Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center.

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