County Latinos are hopeful that Bishop Norman F. McFarland will grasp what they see as a "wonderful opportunity" to recognize and show his commitment to Latino Catholics when he fills the vacancy left by the death Oct. 13 of Archbishop Tomas Clavel, vicar to Hispanics.
The position is "most important" to the county's estimated 350,000 Latino Catholics, who compose about half the diocese, said Amin David, president of Los Amigos of Orange County, a Latino business and civic organization.
David said Latinos want their leader to take a more active role than he has in the past. Based largely on a perception that the Hispanic Ministries Department has become less active under McFarland, he added, "the bishop's posture may be viewed as 'let the momentum seek its own course.' I don't think there's any planning that considers this mighty element coming into play. It is viewed as a factor that is here, but let it not be visible."
McFarland said two positions would be needed to replace Clavel: a Vicar to Hispanics and an auxiliary bishop to help share duties such as confirmations. While McFarland may name any priest to fill the vicar spot, appointments of bishops must be made by the Vatican.