FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno ushered in a new era on Thursday, when Joseph Brennan was installed as the sixth bishop in Diocese history.
The installation mass ended just after 4 p.m.
Father Brennan takes over for Armando Ochoa who served as bishop for the last seven years in the Valley.
Hundreds packed St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in northwest Fresno to witness the installation of the new bishop.
Brennan had served as auxiliary bishop to the archdiocese of Los Angeles since 2015.
He began his first homily as bishop with some humor.
"I'm here because the pope couldn't be here," he said.
The new bishop promised to immerse himself in the Valley and be a good shepherd to the 1.2 million followers of the diocese.
"Be joyful whenever you can and be serious only whenever you must," he said.
Outside the mass, a large police presence set up a perimeter around the church - while a group of supporters gathered to welcomed Brennan with religious hymns and prayers across the street.
"It's monumental for us to be here and be able to welcome the new bishop and see what he has planned and to be a part of it is such a blessing," said Andrew Ugues of Bakersfield.
Brennan's predecessor Bishop Armando Ochoa was in attendance Thursday - along with a dozen and a half bishops and other Catholic leaders from across the country.
Bishop Brennan takes over the day-to-day duties of the diocese While Bishop Ochoa - who recently turned 76 - is retiring.
New bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno takes over