Local News

Raleigh bishop reflects on first 100 days leading Triangle's Catholic population

Posted December 15, 2017 6:25 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT

— As the Catholic Church's new Bishop of Raleigh celebrated 100 days on the job, Luis Zarama reflected on his work, mission and life.

Zarama is a soft spoken shepherd of close to 500,000 Catholics. He's also a leader with a clear vision and a wicked sense of humor.

During his homily at the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, he reminded everyone of the lessons of giving and receiving.

"Who lives and reigns with you now and forever," he said. "The best gift is the gift of love and the gift of love is best show in our hearts and how we serve."

The first 100 days as Bishop has been a time of settling in and beginning to learn the diocese.

He said he vividly remembers this his installation on August 29, walking the cathedral, holding high his papal appointment, all with the approval of the faithful.

"I think I'm still digesting the moment," he said. "It was so powerful and so beautiful."

Ordained priest in 1993, Zarama admits the church wasn't his first choice as a profession.

"I was looking to be a pilot, but I couldn't because of my sight," he said.

Priesthood wasn't his second choice.

"My other dream was to be a cowboy, horse and cows and everything," he said. "I was never a good student, at the time I got a Master's in 9th grade, I took it twice, now I can laugh."

His dad challenged him to become a better student.

Today, he teaches thousands a message of love and hope and to look deeply within for answers.

"If we're looking to change the world, we cannot look out there, we need to start with our own life and our own self," he said.

Zarama will be featured on a special edition of “On The Record” in January. This week's episode focuses on the day the Cathedral was dedicated.