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Auxiliary Bishop-elect of San Antonio: “To neglect the poor is to neglect Christ”

Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Gary Janak as the new auxiliary bishop to the Archdiocese of San Antonio in Texas.

He will become the second auxiliary bishop in the rapidly growing archdiocese, which serves over 800,000 Catholics. 

For bishop-elect Janak, the new role is an opportunity to engage with those on the margins of society.

Auxiliary Bishop-elect, Archdiocese of San Antonio
“I’ve always seen a bishop as a shepherd, and so I want to walk with God’s people, I want to be a good shepherd. I want to reach out to those that are hurting, those that feel lost, those who feel abandoned, maybe those who feel rejected by the Church. And I really believe it’s not a role that I’m assuming, but a relationship that I’m forming with God’s people.”

His appointment came in the middle of a snowstorm that left many in Texas without water or electricity for several days. 

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, damaging the cathedral where Janak served as pastor—an experience he says taught him about the Church’s role in combatting crises.  

Bishop-elect, Archdiocese of San Antonio
“Any crisis will always require resources, and the Church can truly know that we use what we have to help all of God’s people, but most of all I believe that people just want to know the Church is there to stand with them, to offer them help, a message of hope.”

Catholic charities have been a source of relief throughout the state, providing food and other resources to those impacted by the crisis. 

Still, Janak seeks to make engagement with the poor a priority for the Church as auxiliary bishop.

Bishop-elect, Archdiocese of San Antonio
“To neglect the needs of the poor is to neglect Christ. I firmly believe that as a priest and I’m sure I will realize that very soon as a bishop. The Church has to always and will always be aligned with the poor.”

The Archdiocese of San Antonio is sure to welcome this addition to its team as it continues to expand in one of the fastest growing and most diverse regions in the United States.