On Thursday he came to College Station to celebrate Mass with our part of the diocese one final time. It was wonderful celebration of his time spent shepherding us and we will certainly miss him. He is one of the best bishops I have met. He has all the skills needed to be an effective apostle - good leadership, good preacher, very pastoral, orthodox, good administrator, good with people, connects with his priests closely, emphasizes vocations, good formation, and campus ministry, etc. But, the most important is that he is a disciple of Christ himself. He radiates faith and charity and you can tell where his heart lies - with Jesus Christ and his Church.
New Orleans is blessed to get him and I know he is leaving one of the healthiest dioceses in the USA for one of the more challenging. He oversaw a doubling in the Catholic population of Austin in the last decade (growing twice as fast as the general population of one of the fastest-growing areas in the country), vocations skyrocketing, a very successful financial plan and fundraising, as well as a re-organization of the diocese with an emphasis on adult formation. He has brought in great people as well to help, including some initiatives that haven't even happened yet. For instance:
Eight Dominican Sisters from Ann Arbor, Mich., arrive in the diocese on Aug. 10. They will be housed in two convents and will serve several of our schools. Two of the sisters will work in the diocesan Pastoral Center with diocesan staff to establish their long-term plans for a significant presence and ministry in the diocese. We pray that more sisters from the Ann Arbor mother house will continue to come each year and serve more of our schools.
Archbishop Aymond is also very well-respected amongst his brother bishops for his ability to handle public relations, run with big issues, balance a lot, and as a Bishop who unites different groups and people. Just one example - he was entrusted with implementing the Protecting God's Children plan for the USCCB.
God bless Archbishop Aymond.
May God grant us another holy and good Bishop for Austin.