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Denver’s new Catholic archbishop welcomed at Cathedral mass

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DENVER -- The Pope handpicked him almost two months ago. On Wednesday, Denver's Catholic community officially welcome Samuel Aquila as its new archbishop.

Aquila was installed as Denver's fifth archbishop in an invite-only ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, in front of a capacity crowd of 1,500.

When first introduced to Denver in late May, Aquila promised he wouldn’t back down on the big issues.

“As Catholics and as Christians, while being respectful, we must also keep the place of God in the public square,” Aquila said.

Aquila vows to uphold Catholic values on social issues – like opposing civil unions here in Colorado. Back in 2009, he didn’t back away from controversy, making headlines for being one of the bishops who opposed Notre Dame’s decision to let Barack Obama deliver a commencement speech there because of the President’s pro-choice stance.

“It did not seem proper or the proper venue for that kind of invitation,” Aquila said.

Previously the bishop of the Fargo Diocese, Aquila is no stranger to Colorado. He studied and was ordained here in 1976. He also served in Colorado Springs and several Denver parishes dating back to 1999.

“When I left Denver, I never imagined for a moment that I would one day be here returning as your archbishop,” Aquila said.