LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — L.A. Archbishop Jose Gomez was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Tuesday, the first Latino ever to be elected to the position. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops cast their votes Tuesday at their annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Archbishop Gomez had served as vice president of the conference since 2016 and was expected to be elected president.

“I am humbled by this vote and my brother bishops’ trust in me,” he said in a statement. “This election is an honor for me, and it recognizes the beautiful diversity and missionary spirit of the family of God in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. But it is also a recognition of the essential place that Latino Catholics hold in the life of the Church and in the life of our great nation.”

Archbishop Gomez has been an outspoken advocate for immigration, and he says the issue will continue to be a top priority for him in the new role.

His term begins Thursday.

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