The Catholic Diocese of Monterey, which includes San Luis Obispo County, has a new spiritual leader.
Thousands of people packed the Madonna Del Sasso Catholic Church in Salinas Tuesday for Bishop Daniel Garcia’s installation mass.
People traveled from all over the country to be there, including the new bishop’s family.
“I’m very proud of him, I’m very proud. It’s something that he has chosen as a way of life to serve the community and to serve Christ,” said Rick Garcia, Bishop Garcia’s cousin.
During the ceremony, the bishop spoke about several topics, including immigration and sexual abuse allegations in the church.
“We must first and foremost make people feel welcome and help people to see that they do belong,” said Bishop Garcia during the mass.
Earlier this month, the Monterey Diocese released a list of 30 clergymen who have been “credibly accused” of abusing children, including four locally.
Members of the community are looking forward to the change, and they’re eager to see the impact Bishop Garcia will make.
“I’m excited for his new ideas, getting to work with him, and it’s all going to be a great experience,” said Astrid Smoot, who has lived in Salinas for 12 years and worked for the Monterey Diocese for nearly a decade.
The Bishop’s family says he likes people to refer to him by his first name, Danny, so he can feel more connected to the community and the region.