After a class project turned to a real-life experience, the students in Carmen Ribera’s religion class had a once in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Bishop Kevin Vann.
As part of the coursework in Ribera’s religion class the students were required to research Bishop Vann, who was appointed in 2012, and write him a letter inquiring about various facets of his journey to become a Bishop.
“I told the students we would send Bishop Vann their letters, thinking I would perhaps get a kind note back,” said Ribera. “To my surprise I received a phone call saying that he would like to come visit, I was blown away.”
A few weeks later Bishop Vann arrived on-campus and shared his life’s journey to eventually being appointed a Bishop. Reading from the letters the students sent him, he answered some questions they had submitted from their project.
Student (SQ): What has changed in your everyday life since becoming a Bishop?
Bishop Vann (BV): I think the biggest change has actually been learning to live in different areas. You have to be able to adapt to your surroundings, which can be challenging at times.
SQ: How did you design your coat of arms?
BV: Well each coat of arms is to be specific to each Bishop to express who you are. For mine I choose a blue crest to symbolize Mary, a French cross to symbolize reform, and two keys to symbolize the kingdom of heaven.
SQ: As a Bishop you are at the third level of the holy order, what’s the responsibility like?
BV: There are 1.3 million Catholics in California, a much bigger number then I have had in the past, however I try to not think about it and take it all one day at a time.
SQ: How did you get into your vocation?
BV: I came from a big family that had to sacrifice many things in order for us to attend Catholic schools growing up, which taught me how important it is to have a faith-filled educational background. This to me, translated into the importance of having a real relationship with Christ in my everyday life. I earned a degree in science and worked for a period of time before seeing more and more that Christ is in everything and that is when I joined the church.
SQ: What is one piece of advice you could give to help strengthen your relationship with God?
BV: You have to talk to God, and spend time together investing in your relationship. It is the same as if it were with a friend or spouse.