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Pope names auxiliary bishops for Brooklyn

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WASHINGTON — Pope Benedict XVI has named two priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., to serve as auxiliary bishops there.

Msgr. Paul Robert Sanchez, 65, and Msgr. Raymond Francis Chappetto, 66, both were ordained to the priesthood in 1971.

Bishop-designate Sanchez serves as vicar for Queens, while Bishop-designate Chappetto is vicar for clergy and consecrated life and pastor of Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Floral Park.

The appointments were announced in Washington May 2 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who will ordain the new bishops July 11 at Our Lady of the Angels Church in Brooklyn, said the two were “among the most respected priests in the diocese” and each was “very attentive to the diverse needs of the people they serve.”

In a statement he also thanked the two bishops-designate for helping him “in my ministry as bishop.”

They “consistently offer wise counsel and advice that has been indispensable in the administration of the diocese with respect to parish reconfiguration and the revitalization of spiritual programs and ministry to priests,” he said.

Bishop-designate Sanchez, born Nov. 26, 1946, in Brooklyn, earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University, a master’s from the University of Notre Dame and a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 17, 1971, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican by then-Bishop (later Cardinal) James A. Hickey.

After several assignments as an associate pastor, he was named pastor of St. Agatha Parish in Brooklyn, a post he held for 10 years, then pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (2001-08), while also serving as administrator of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Long Island City.

“I have loved my ministry as a parish priest,” Bishop-designate Sanchez said in a statement. “Even when the people had limited financial resources, they were rich in faith and an inspiration to my life of faith. … As I have walked on this great pilgrimage as a priest, the depths of God’s love have been made very clearly manifest.”

He was named vicar for Queens North in June 2008 and vicar for Queens in June 2009.

Bishop-designate Chappetto was born Aug. 20, 1945, in Astoria and holds a master’s degree in divinity from Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Albany and a master’s in religious education from St. John’s University in New York. He also is certified in pastoral counseling.

Ordained May 29, 1971, by then-Brooklyn Bishop Francis Mugavero at St. James Pro-Cathedral in Brooklyn, his initial assignments were as associate pastor in four parishes. He was among the first to be involved in team ministry at Our Lady of Angels Parish in Canarsie, from 1983 to 1989, and eventually became the pastor there, serving until 1995.

Bishop-designate Chappetto was named an episcopal vicar for Brooklyn West in 1995 and became pastor of Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Floral Park, where he still serves, in 1999. The National Catholic Educational Association named him pastor of the year in 2008.

While remaining pastor of Our Lady of the Snows, he was appointed minister for priests and in 2009 he was named vicar for clergy and consecrated life.

“The work of visiting the sick, as well as teaching in our parochial school and celebrating the sacraments, has kept me grounded in the 41 years of my priesthood,” he said in a statement. “Despite the greater responsibilities of my new office, I intend to be faithful to those ministries which have been so nourishing to me these many years.”

Each of the new bishops is fluent in a language other than English — Bishop-designate Sanchez in Spanish and Bishop-designate Chappetto in Italian.