Pope names bishops for Cleveland and Juneau dioceses

On Tuesday, July 11, Pope Francis appointed bishops for the dioceses of Cleveland, Ohio and Juneau, Alaska.

Bishop Nelson Perez. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre

He named Auxiliary Bishop Nelson Perez, Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, NY to be bishop Of Cleveland. He succeeds Bishop Richard G. Lennon, who resigned in December at age 70 citing health reasons.

Bishop Perez, 56, a native of Miami, Fla. was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1989. He graduated from Montclair State University in New Jersey with a bachelor degree in psychology. He taught for a year at Colegio la Piedad, a Catholic elementary school in Puerto Rico, before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia to study for the priesthood.

In 2012, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Rockville Centre Diocese. There, he was a member of the Corporate Board of Directors for Catholic Health Services, vice chair of Catholic Charities, and served on the Priests Personnel Board, Presbyteral Council and Diocesan Advisory Committee for Hispanic Ministry. He is currently  a member of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and is also chairman  of the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs.

His installation will take place on Sept. 5.

Bishop-designate Andrew Bellisario, CM. Photo ctionsourtesy of the Diocese of Juneau

In addition, Pope Francis appointed Vincentian Father Andrew E. Bellisario as sixth bishop of Juneau. He succeeds Bishop Edward Burns who now heads the Diocese of Dallas since November 2016.

Bishop-designate Bellisario, 60, a native of Los Angeles, has served for the past two years as the Superior of the International Mission of the Vincentians in Alaska and as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-cathedral in Anchorage. He graduated from Saint Vincent’s Seminary High School in Montebello, CA in 1975, and entered the Congregation of the Mission in the summer of the same year.  After completing his novitiate in Santa Barbara, CA in 1976, he attended and graduated from Saint Mary’s of the Barrens Seminary College in Perryville, MO with a B.A. degree in Philosophy, and four years later he received his Master of Divinity degree from De Andreis Institute of Theology in Lemont, IL. He was ordained a priest for the Vincentians, Province of the West, on June 16, 1984.

Father Bellisario has served as Parochial Vicar and Administrator of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Montebello, CA; the Pastor of Saint Vincent de Paul Church in Huntington Beach, CA; the Pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Patterson, CA; and the Director of De Paul Evangelization Center in Montebello, CA.  He also served as the Provincial Superior of the Vincentians, Province of the West, and as the Director of the Daughters of Charity, Province of Los Altos Hills.

His episcopal ordination and installation will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

For the USCCB News Release (July 11, 2017), click here.

For the Catholic News Service (July 11, 2017) report, click here.

Atlanta auxiliary bishop named bishop of Raleigh

Bishop Luis Zarama. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Atlanta

Pope Francis named Atlanta Auxiliary Bishop Luis Zarama as Bishop of Raleigh, NC. He succeeds Bishop Michael Burbidge who was appointed Bishop of Arlington in Oct. 2016.

Bishop Zarama, 58, a native of Pasto, Columbia, was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 1993. He holds degrees in philosophy and theology from the Marian University in Pasto, and a degree in Canon Law from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia.

Besides serving in a variety of pastoral posts, he served on the Vocations Committee he then served as a member of the Vocations Committee. He was named vicar general of the Archdiocese in April of 2006 and in 2008 he was appointed to serve as the judicial vicar for the Archdiocese’s Metropolitan Tribunal. He is also a member of the Archdiocesan Personnel Review Board. He was named auxiliary bishop of Atlanta on July 27, 2009.

Bishop Zarama’s installation is to take place at the Cathedral of the Holy name of Jesus on Aug. 29.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

For the Diocese of Raleigh (July 5, 2017 report, click here.

Former Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls dead at 80

Joaquin Navarro-Valls (right) with Pope St. John Paul II. Photo image courtesy of Greg Burke via Twitter

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, a Spanish layman, who as papal spokesman for 22 years beginning in 1984 died on July 5 of pancreatic cancer, according to the Catholic News Service (July 6, 2017).

In a statement to CNS, Greg Burke, the current head of the Vatican press office, said his predecessor “always behaved like a Christian gentleman — and those can be hard to find these days.”

“Joaquin Navarro embodied what Ernest Hemingway defined as courage: grace under pressure. I got to know Navarro when I was working for Time, and the magazine named John Paul II Man of the Year. I expected to find a man of faith, but I found a man of faith who was also a first-class professional.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who was Navarro-Valls immediate successor as Vatican press director beginning in 2006 remembered him as a “master in the way he carried out his service.”

He was a member of Opus Dei.

For the entire CNS report, click here.

For a National Catholic Register (July 7, 2017) summary, click here.

Allentown priest named bishop

Bishop-elect Alfred A. Schlert. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Allentown

Pope Francis named Monsignor Alfred A. Schlert, as Bishop of Allentown. He succeeds Bishop John O. Barres who was transferred to the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Dec. 2016.

Bishop-elect Schlert, 55, a priest of the Diocese of Allentown is currently diocesan administrator. It is the first time a priest of the diocese has been named a bishop.

Ordained in 1987, he prepared for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary near Philadelphia and the Pontifical Roman Seminary and St. John Lateran University in Rome. He received a Licentiate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University in 1992.

Bishop-elect Schlert has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative positions including, professor at his alma mater Notre Dame High School, and Catholic chaplain at Lehigh University. He was named Vice Chancellor and Secretary to the bishop in 1997; and was named vicar general of the diocese of Allentown in 1998. While still serving as Vicar General, he was still pastor of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church in Hellertown, 2008-2010, when he resumed full time service as vicar general.

In addition, Bishop-elect Schlert is Vice President of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and a member of its Administrative Board.  He also served on the diocesan Council of Priests, the diocesan Financial Council, and the diocesan College of Consultors. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for DeSales University.

His ordination and installation as bishop will take place at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena on Thursday, Aug. 31st.

For the USCCB News Release (June 27, 2017), click here.

For the Catholic News Agency (June 27, 2017) report, click here.

Council Minutes from Des Moines (May 2017)

The May meeting of the Des Moines Council began with a 20-minute discussion of paragraphs 86-92 of Pope Francis Apostolic Exhortation Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium).

  • There was a report on the April NFPC Convocation in Anaheim, CA
  • Seventeen diocesan leaders are attending the USCCB-sponsored Convocation for Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America in Orlando, July 1-4.
  • There was a report on the V Encuentro process at the diocesan level.
  • A motion was made, seconded and passed to recommend hiring an education-consulting firm to conduct a long-range study on diocesan Catholic schools.
  • Members discussed how best to provide parishes with transparent financial reports.
  • Members discussed ways to address the declining participation in church activities. A suggestion was made to consider having pastors deliver bulletins to homes of parishioners who do not attend church.
  • In a report on outreach to youth and young adults, minutes note a welcome given to the new President of the Catholic high school, a new Vocation Director, a new Director of Young Adult Ministry and the new Director of the St. Thomas More Center.
  • The FOCUS marriage ministry program is being considered to help couples during the first five years of marriage.
  • In his comments Bishop noted the good in promoting presbyteral unity and gave special acknowledgement to international priests serving in the diocese.
  • Bishop acknowledged those who helped financially and other ways to get Pastoral Center ready for move-back by Thanksgiving.
  • Bishop acknowledged the good attendance at the Chrism Mass and gave kudos to the Director of Worship for assimilating different cultures and languages into the liturgy.
  • Minutes note the importance of having at least one regional meeting before the presbyteral council meeting.  Regional meetings promote unity and communication.
  • A motion was made, seconded and approved to discuss the position of Servant Minister at the next council meeting.
  • Jesuit Father Chris Collins conducted the June priests retreat.
  • The October Fall Workshop will focus on Great catholic Parishes. Representatives from Parish Catalyst will facilitate the workshop.
  • Finally, job descriptions for priest representatives to boards and committees are being developed.

San Francisco Archbishop Emeritus John R. Quinn dead at 88

Archbishop Emeritus John R. Quinn. Stock photo from the Internet.

Archbishop Emeritus John R. Quinn of San Francisco died on June 22 at Jewish Home of San Francisco. He was 88.

Archbishop Quinn had become ill during a visit to Rome last fall and had emergency surgery. However, complications set in, and, upon his return to San Francisco, he spent several months at St. Mary’s Hospital. He had been moved to the Jewish home to receive skilled nursing care last Friday.

Archbishop Quinn headed the San Francisco Archdiocese from 1977 to 1995. Prior to that he was Bishop of Oklahoma City-Tulsa and when the diocese split in 1972 to form the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, he became the first archbishop of Oklahoma City.

Ordained a priest of the Diocese of San Diego he was named auxiliary bishop at the age of 38. He became the fourth president of what is now the US Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1977-1980.

He dedicated his retirement to research and writing on ecumenism and used Pope St. John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint as the inspiration for his highly acclaimed 1999 book, “The Reform of the Papacy: The Costly Call to Christian Unity.”

Funeral arrangements are pending as of this writing.

For the Catholic San Francisco (June 22, 2017) report, click here.

For the America magazine (June 22, 2017) report, click here.

For Rocco Palmo’s reflection on Archbishop Quinn’s death, click here.

Evansville Bishop Charles Thompson named Archbishop of Indianapolis

Archbishop-designate Charles Thompson. Photo courtesy of Whispers in the Loggia blog

Pope Francis named Evansville, Indiana Bishop Charles Thompson as Archbishop of Indianapolis. He succeeds Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, who was named Archbishop of Newark in November 2016.

Archbishop-designate Thompson, 56, a native of Louisville, KY was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville in 1987. He graduated He graduated from Bellarmine College with a BA in Accounting in May 1983. He graduated from St. Meinrad School of Theology with a Master of Divinity degree in May 1987. In May 1992 he obtained his Licentiate in Canon Law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada.

Archbishop-designate Thompson served in a variety of pastoral, educational, and administrative positions including Associate Pastor, Pastor, Parish Administrator, Metropolitan Judicial Vicar & Director of Tribunals, Promoter of Justice, priest-chaplain to two high schools, Visiting Professor of Canon Law at St. Meinrad School of Theology, and Vicar General in the Archdiocese of Louisville from 2008-2011.

In 2011 Pope Benedict XVI appointed then Fr. Thompson Bishop of Evansville. He will be installed on July 28.

For the USCCB News Release (June 13, 2017), click here.

For Archbishop-designate Thompson’s bio, courtesy of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, click here.

Nashville Bishop David Choby dead at 70

Bishop David R. Choby. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Nashville.

Bishop David Choby who headed the Nashville diocese since 2006 died on Saturday, June 3 at St. Thomas West Hospital at the age of 70. A statement from the Nashville diocesan website noted that Bishop Choby died as a result of medical setbacks due to injuries he sustained in a fall at his home on Feb. 7.

Bishop Choby, a Nashville native was only the second priest in the 169-year history of the diocese to become its bishop.

According to remarks by Fr. Ed Steiner, rector of the Cathedral of the Incarnation, and appearing on the Tennessean website (June 4, 2017), Bishop Choby was a pastoral bishop. “Everybody knew that if anything came up in your life, Bishop Choby was going to be right there. He had your back,” Fr. Steiner said.

He was also committed to bringing men onto the priesthood, Fr. Steiner noted. While serving as bishop, 28 priests were ordained. Those priests are his legacy, he said.

The funeral Mass will he held Saturday, June 10, 10”30 am at Sagrado Corazon at the Catholic Pastoral Center. The burial will be at 3 p.m. at Calvary Cemetery.

For more detailed information, click here.

For the Diocese of Nashville web site, click here.

Dubuque Archbishop Emeritus Daniel Kucera, OSB, dead at 94

Archbishop Daniel W. Kucera, OSB. Photo courtesy of The Witness. Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Archbishop Emeritus Daniel W. Kucera, OSB, who served as head of the Dubuque archdiocese from 1984 to 1995, died on May 30 at Stonehill Care Center in Dubuque, IA. He was 94.

A native of Chicago, he attended St. Procopius College in Lisle, IL and was professed a Benedictine monk on June 16, 1944. He completed his theological training at St. Procopius Seminary, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 26, 1949. He earned masters and doctoral degrees from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and held several positions in addition to teaching at St. Procopius College. In 1959, at the age of 36, he was named the youngest president of St. Procopius College, Lisle, IL.

In 1977, he was ordained auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Joliet, IL. He was named bishop of Salina, KS, in March of 1980 and served there until 1984, when he was appointed archbishop of Dubuque. He welcomed Archbishop Jerome G. Hanus, OSB, as coadjutor in August of 1994 and retired in October of 1995.

His funeral Mass will take place at the Cathedral of St. Rafael in Dubuque at 11:00 am, Tuesday, June 6. He will be interred at St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, IL

For more detailed information, click here.

Holy Cross priest named bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee


Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee

Pope Francis named Holy Cross Father William A. Wack bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla. He succeeds Bishop Gregory Parkes who was appointed Bishop of St. Petersburg in Nov. 2016.

Bishop–elect Wack, 49, a native of South Bend, IN was serving as pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin, TX. He professed final vows in 1993 and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in government and international relations (1989), and a master of divinity (1993), from the University of Notre Dame.

In addition to pastoral assignments, Bishop-elect Wack has held a variety of administrative posts including associate director of vocations, director of Andre House, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Phoenix, AZ, board member of Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, Holy Cross Associates, Holy Cross College, and Catholic Charities, Phoenix, AZ. He was also member of the Presbyteral Council of the Austin diocese.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

For Bishop-elect Wack’s remarks, courtesy of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, click here.