WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Chicago two archdiocesan priests and a Franciscan friar who has been serving in the archdiocese since 2005.
The priests are Father Jeffrey S. Grob, 61, who is vicar for canonical affairs and an expert on the rite of exorcism; Father Kevin M. Birmingham, 48, who is director of the archdiocese’s Department of Parish Vitality and Mission; and Father Robert J. Lombardo, 63, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal, who was invited by Cardinal Francis E. George to minister in Chicago and to set up a mission outreach to the poor on Chicago’s West Side.
The appointments were announced Sept. 11 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican nuncio to the United States.
“We are grateful to the Holy Father for the gift of these new auxiliary bishops,” Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich said in a statement. “Each of these fine priests has made a unique contribution to the life of the church and society, yet they share in common a solid record of pastoral service, fidelity to the Gospel and inspiring personal witness.”
For the time being, Bishop-designate Birmingham will remain in his current position. Bishop-designate Grob will serve as the episcopal vicar of Vicariate I and Bishop-designate Lombardo will serve as episcopal vicar of Vicariate III.
Bishop-designate Birmingham, who was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago by Cardinal George May 24, 1997, served as administrative secretary to Cardinal Cupich from November 2014 to June 2020, when he assumed directorship of the archdiocese’s Department of Parish Vitality and Mission. He is fluent in Spanish and celebrates Spanish Masses at St. John Berchmans Parish in Chicago.
He was born in Oak Lawn, Ill., Oct. 7, 1971, to Jeanette (Larsen) and the late Joseph Birmingham and was raised in Our Lady of the Ridge Parish in Chicago Ridge, Illinois, where he attended public grammar school.
He graduated from Quigley South High School and spent two years at Loyola University Chicago before transferring to Niles College Seminary, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy with minors in computer science and mathematics in 1993. He graduated from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, in 1997 with a master of divinity degree.
After his ordination, then-Father Birmingham had assignments as associate pastor at three parishes and in 2005 was named pastor of St. Anne Parish in Hazel Crest, Illinois. In 2011, he became pastor of Maternity BVM Parish in Chicago, serving there until 2014, when he was named to his current position.
Bishop-designate Grob, who was ordained a priest for the archdiocese by Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin May 23, 1992, has been judicial vicar and vicar for canonical affairs from 2017 to the present.
He has served the archdiocese in many, often simultaneous positions, including as assistant chancellor, 1994 to 1998; a judge on the court of appeals, 2003 to 2013; judicial vicar, 2013 to 2015; chancellor, 2015 to 2017; and the archbishop’s delegate to the Independent Review Board, 2010 to the present. He also has been archbishop’s liaison to lay ecclesial movements and new communities from 2015 to the present.
Born March 19, 1961, in Madison, Wisconsin, to Bonnie (Meinholz) and the late Gerald J. Grob, he grew up on a dairy farm outside Cross Plains, Wisconsin. He attended St. Francis Xavier Grade School in Cross Plains and Holy Name High School Seminary in Madison,.
The future bishop attended St. Meinrad College in St. Meinrad, Indiana, and graduated from the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, in 1988 with a bachelor of arts degree in religious studies. He spent a year at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, before earning a master of divinity degree in 1992 from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein; in 1999, he received a licentiate in sacred theology from Mundelein.
He also received a licentiate in canon law and a doctorate in canon law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario, in 2000 and 2007, respectively. He earned a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Ottawa, also in 2007.
After his ordination, then-Father Grob had a number of parish assignments as resident and assistant pastor. From 1998 to 2002 he was a weekend assistant at St. Basil Parish in Ottawa. He was pastor of Celestine Parish in Elmwood Park, Illinois, from 2008 to 2013.
Bishop-designate Lombardo is the founder and director of the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels. Located in the city’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood, the mission operates food and clothing pantries, conducts after-school, family and senior citizens’ programming, and hosts retreats, Bible camps and religious education classes.
He has served the Chicago Archdiocese in a number of capacities, including as a member of the Human Dignity and Solidarity Office and Priest Advisory Board, 2006 to 2015; adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, 2013 to 2015; and member of the Institute on Religious Life board, 2010 to the present. He also has been co-leader of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Initiative on Evangelization from 2016 to the present.
Bishop-designate Lombardo, who is fluent in Spanish, is a founding member of his community, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and also is the founder and superior of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago, which was canonically established by Cardinal George in 2010. The religious community of men and women serve the poor, carry out the work of evangelization and teaching, and have a life centered around the Real Presence in the Eucharist.
Born Sept. 4,1957, in Stamford, Connecticut, to Emil and Christine (Rubino) Lombardo, the future Franciscan and bishop attended St. Maurice Grammar School and Stamford Catholic High School, both in Stamford. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration/accounting from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 1979 and worked in public accountancy at Price Waterhouse from 1979 to 1980.
He received a master of divinity degree from the Maryknoll School of Theology in Ossining, New York, in 1987, and a master of science degree in pastoral counseling from Iona College, New Rochelle, New York, in 1990.
Bishop-designate Lombardo began his formation as a Capuchin friar in 1980, when he entered St. Francis Friary in Garrison, New York. He professed his first vows in 1981 at the Mary Immaculate Friary in Garrison and his final vows in 1986 at Sacred Heart Church in Yonkers, New York. He was ordained to the priesthood May 12, 1990, by Cardinal John J. O’Connor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.
As a young religious, then-Father Lombardo did missionary work in Bolivia and Honduras with orphaned street children, organized youth programs on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and directed the Padre Pio Shelter for the Homeless in the New York City borough of the Bronx.