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.