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N.C. priest at Phila. seminary named auxiliary bishop for Atlanta

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WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Father Bernard E. Shlesinger III, a priest of the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, to be an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Bishop-designate Shlesinger, 56, is currently the director of spiritual formation at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia.

Father Bernard E. Shlesinger III, a priest of the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C., speaks during a May 15 news conference after Pope Francis appointed him as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Bishop-designate Shlesinger, 56, is currently director of spiritual formation in the theology division at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. (CNS/Micael Alexander, Georgia Bulletin)

Father Bernard E. Shlesinger III, a priest of the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C., speaks during a May 15 news conference after Pope Francis appointed him as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Bishop-designate Shlesinger, 56, is currently director of spiritual formation in the theology division at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. (CNS/Micael Alexander, Georgia Bulletin)

The appointment was announced in Washington May 15 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-designate Shlesinger’s episcopal ordination will take place at Christ the King Cathedral in Atlanta, but the date has not yet been announced.

“I warmly welcome him to the Archdiocese of Atlanta and I look forward to working with him in service to this local church,” Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said in a statement about the newly named bishop.

As a Raleigh diocesan priest, Bishop-designate Shlesinger “comes to us from a diocese within the ecclesiastical province of Atlanta where he has longed enjoyed the endorsement of the bishops of our province and the well-deserved respect, admiration, and affection of the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Raleigh,” the archbishop said.

“Ned is a man of prayer, prudence, and apostolic zeal,” added Archbishop Gregory, who has headed the archdiocese since 2005. “He is eminently qualified to assume these new responsibilities as auxiliary bishop in Atlanta, and I welcome him with an enthusiastic and jubilant heart. I am certain that we all will come to know and love him and discover how truly fortunate we are to have been sent this man of faith and pastoral skill.”

Since 2013, Bishop-designate Shlesinger has been director of spiritual formation in the theology division of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Before that he served in many different capacities in the Diocese of Raleigh including as a pastor, a member of the priests’ council, and director of vocations and seminary formation, 2007-2013.

“We have been blessed to have him with us for the last four years as director of spiritual formation,” said the seminary’s rector, Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishop Timothy C. Senior. “We were expecting him to return home for a new assignment in the Diocese of Raleigh. (He) will surely be a shepherd after the heart of Jesus, and the church will be blessed by his generous service as a successor to the apostles.”

Father Shlesinger is a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, serving from 1983 to 1990, when he retired with the rank of captain. He flew the C-130E Hercules while stationed at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Born Dec. 17, 1960, Bernard E. “Ned” Shlesinger was raised in Northern Virginia. He is the youngest of six children of Bernard E. Shlesinger Jr. and Rita Belmont Shlesinger.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 1983. He went on to attend Theological College in Washington, where he studied pre-theology and philosophy. He attended Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, earning a bachelor of arts degree in sacred theology in 1995. That same year he then began studies for a licentiate of sacred theology Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also in Rome.

He was ordained a priest June 22, 1996.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta currently has one active auxiliary bishop, Bishop Luis R. Zarama. It encompasses just over 21,000 square miles across 69 counties in north and central Georgia and is home to 1.1 million Catholics, out of a total population of about 7 million.

 

Contributing to this story was Matthew Gambino in Philadelphia.

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Bishop in Jamaica named auxiliary bishop for Brooklyn

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WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Bishop Neil E. Tiedemann as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York.

The appointment was announced April 29 in Washington by Msgr. Walter Erbi, charge d’affairs of the nunciature in the United States.

Pope Francis has named Bishop Neil E. Tiedemann of Mandeville, Jamaica, as auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, N.Y. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Mandeville)

Pope Francis has named Bishop Neil E. Tiedemann of Mandeville, Jamaica, as auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, N.Y. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Mandeville)

Bishop Tiedemann, 68, has been bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica, since 2008. He is a member of the Passionists and was ordained in 1975.

He has served at parishes in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts as well as in Honduras from 1987 to 1994 and again from 2005 to 2006, as well as Jamaica.

In fact, Bishop Tiedemann, who was born in Brooklyn, has served in two Jamaicas: the one in the Caribbean and the one in the New York City borough of Queens, which is also home to St. John’s University. He had served as associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish for seven years after his ordination to the priesthood. During that time, then-Father Tiedemann also worked for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens.

“We in the Diocese of Brooklyn are delighted to welcome home Bishop Neil Tiedemann,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn in an April 29 statement. “The Passionist Fathers in general, and Bishop Tiedemann in particular, minister especially to those who find themselves in the midst of suffering. He has the heart of Christ.”

Born on March 5, 1948, Bishop Tiedemann entered the Passionists in 1970 and made perpetual vows in 1974. His pastoral work in the United States included two separate stints at St. Joseph’s Passionist Parish in Union City, New Jersey; Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield, Massachusetts; Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Brooklyn. He was appointed the bishop of Mandeville by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

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Pope’s advice to a new bishop: Have mercy, patience and short homilies

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Bishop Angelo De Donatis is seen during his ordination Mass as an auxiliary bishop of Rome in the Basilica of St. John Lateran Nov. 9. Pope Francis celebrated the Mass. (CNS photo/Claudio Peri, EPA)

Bishop Angelo De Donatis is seen during his ordination Mass as an auxiliary bishop of Rome in the Basilica of St. John Lateran Nov. 9. Pope Francis celebrated the Mass. (CNS photo/Claudio Peri, EPA)

Catholic News Service

ROME — Ordaining a Rome pastor and seminary spiritual director as an auxiliary bishop of Rome, Pope Francis pleaded with him to be merciful and to give short, clear homilies.

Ordaining Bishop Angelo De Donatis, 61, Nov. 9 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis reminded the new bishop of something he had told him earlier.

“Let your words be simple so that everyone can understand. Don’t give long homilies,” the pope said. “Allow me to ask you to remember your dad and how very happy he was to have found another parish in a town nearby where the Mass was celebrated without a homily!”

“Homilies should be the transmission of God’s grace. Simple, so that everyone can understand them and everyone will want to become a better person,” Pope Francis told the new bishop.

The Mass was celebrated on the feast of the dedication of the basilica, which serves as the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome.

As is customary, the pope used the homily prescribed for the occasion by the Italian bishops’ conference, but as he often does, he added a few personal comments, such as those about Bishop De Donatis’ father.

After anointing the new bishop with oil and giving him the Book of the Gospels, the pope was about to present him with his episcopal ring, a “sign of fidelity,” but first Pope Francis told him, “Do not forget: Before this ring, there were the wedding bands of your parents. Defend the family!”

In his homily, the pope asked him to be patient with priests, seminarians, the poor and laypeople who come to him looking for assistance and counsel.

“Many times you will need a lot of patience,” the pope said, “but the kingdom of God is built that way.”

“And close to the beginning of the Year of Mercy, I ask you as a brother to be merciful,” the pope said. “The church and the world need so much mercy. Teach priests and seminarians the path of mercy with words, yes, but especially with your behavior.”

In his mercy, God always makes room for everyone in his heart, Pope Francis said, so priests and bishops should “never chase anyone away.”

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Media-savvy bishop-designate appointed to Los Angeles

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Catholic News Service

In an era where Catholics are pretty much an afterthought on television, the sight of any cleric on the small screen almost immediately evokes thoughts of “the next Bishop Sheen,” the 1950s prime-time inspirational program host Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Father Robert Barron is pictured in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles July 20. Pope Francis has named Father Barron an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Father Barron, 55, is a native of Chicago who has served as rector of Mundelein Seminary and president of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, also in Mundelein, Ill., since 2012. (CNS photo/J.D. Long-Garcia, The Tidings)

Father Robert Barron is pictured in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles July 20. Pope Francis has named Father Barron an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Father Barron, 55, is a native of Chicago who has served as rector of Mundelein Seminary and president of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, also in Mundelein, Ill., since 2012. (CNS photo/J.D. Long-Garcia, The Tidings)

But in pretty much all past cases, those clerics weren’t bishops themselves. But now Father Robert E. Barron, a media savvy priest, has been named an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and will be moving to the heart of the television industry.

Bishop-designate Barron, appointed July 21, may be best known to TV viewers for having hosted “Catholicism,” a 10-part DVD series. Four parts of the series aired on 90 PBS affiliates in fall 2011. The series earned him a Christopher Award and the Clarion Award the following year from the Catholic Academy of Communications Arts Professionals.

It was discovered by Catholic News Service earlier this year that “Catholicism” is available on the black market in Cuba, purchased for download onto a thumb drive so that Cuban Catholics can watch it, not because the series is illegal but because it’s not readily available in a store.

In a 2013 interview, Bishop-designate Barron said his dream was to assemble another sweeping documentary on Catholicism. With Hollywood in his new backyard, that dream could become reality. He once estimated it would cost $4 million to produce the documentary, tentatively titled “Pivotal Players.”
The new series is still in the pipeline.

He also appeared on EWTN in 2007 on “Untold Blessings: Three Paths to Holiness,” providing concrete, practical advice on how to become a saint.

Bishop-designate Barron’s reason for using video?

“If you want to reach people who are under 40, you have to use media. Things like YouTube had just come into being and we jumped into that with two feet,” he said in 2013. “If you want to find the unchurched Catholics and the secularists, you aren’t going to find them by staying in church and inviting them to programs. You have to use this new means. We have to invade that space.”

The 55-year-old bishop-designate has taught systematic theology, but outside seminary education, his stock in trade has been evangelization. The Chicago-born cleric is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and he has traveled across the United States to speak at conferences, conventions and symposiums on spreading the Christian message. In 2010 he launched a Sunday morning TV show, “Word on Fire,” on the WGN America cable channel.

“It is a blessing for me to work with you to introduce people to Jesus Christ and invite them to share all the gifts he wants his people to enjoy,” Bishop-designate Barron said in a July 21 statement released by Word on Fire.

He is slated to be a speaker at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, although it was not immediately clear whether his new duties as a bishop would allow him to remain on the schedule.

In an interview with The Tidings, newspaper of the Los Angeles archdiocese, he said his main responsibility will be to serve as auxiliary bishop. “I have to be present to the people of the archdiocese,” he said.

For those who don’t watch TV or videos, Bishop-designate Barron also has written 10 books and does radio commentary. His book “The Strangest Way” took second place in the 2003 Catholic Press Association’s book awards for best popular presentation of the Catholic faith. There’s also a 300-page stand-alone “Catholicism” book that complements the DVD series.

 

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California native to lead San Diego diocese

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Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Francisco has been named to head the Diocese of San Diego by Pope Francis.

The appointment was announced in Washington March 3 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop McElroy, 61, is a native of San Francisco who has spent most of his life in the Bay Area. He has been an auxiliary bishop since 2010.

He succeeds Bishop Cirilo B. Flores, who died Sept. 6, 2014.

“Bishop McElroy is exemplary in his outreach to many groups and communities in the archdiocese and we are all grateful for his wise advice and guidance to people and parishes in the archdiocese,” said a statement from San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone.

He said San Diego’s location as a major metropolis on the U.S.-Mexico border across from another major metropolis. Tijuana, “presents distinctive challenges and opportunities.”

Bishop McElroy’s “proven track record of outreach to the poor and marginalized, along with his ability to understand and articulate the complexities involved,” Archbishop Cordileone said, “will serve him well in responding to Catholics of the Diocese of San Diego, as he builds upon the many graces they have received from God and helps Catholics confront their needs with hope and confidence in the Lord.”

When he was named an auxiliary for San Francisco, Bishop McElroy had been pastor of St. Gregory Parish in San Mateo, California, for 14 years. Before that he was vicar general for the San Francisco Archdiocese, from 1995 to 1997. He was named a monsignor in 1996.

He is author of “The Search for an American Public Theology: The Contribution of John Courtney Murray,” Paulist Press, 1989; and “Morality and American Foreign Policy: The Role of Ethics in International Affairs,” Princeton University Press, 1992. He also has been published in journals and America magazine, a weekly Jesuit publication.

Robert Walter McElroy was born Feb. 5, 1954, in San Francisco. He grew up in San Mateo County. His family resided in Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Daly City and Our Lady of Angels Parish in Burlingame.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1975, a master’s degree in American history from Stanford University in 1976, and a master of divinity degree from St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, in 1979.

He was ordained a priest for San Francisco April 12, 1980, at St. Mary’s Cathedral by Archbishop John R. Quinn.

As a young priest, he was parochial vicar at St. Cecilia Parish in San Francisco and at St. Pius in Redwood City. He was secretary to Archbishop Quinn from 1982 to 1985.

He studied for a licentiate in sacred theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, in 1985; and for a doctorate in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, 1985-1986. He studied for a doctorate in history at Stanford, 1986-1989.

The San Diego diocese covers more than 8,800 square miles in Southern California. Out of a total population of about 3.2 million people, just under 1 million, or 31 percent, are Catholic.

 

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Pope names Wichita bishop and auxiliary for Miami – updated

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Pope Francis has appointed the vicar general of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., to be bishop of Wichita, Kan., and also named a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Miami.

In Kansas, Msgr. Carl A. Kemme, 53, vicar general and moderator of the curia in Springfield, will succeed Archbishop Michael O. Jackels, who was named to head the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, in April 2013.

Miami’s newly named auxiliary is Msgr. Peter Baldacchino, also 53, who since 1999 has been chancellor of the Turks and Caicos Islands, a juridical mission of the New Jersey archdiocese.

The appointments were announced Feb. 20 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-designate Kemme’s episcopal ordination and installation as the 11th bishop of Wichita is scheduled for May 1. Bishop-designate Baldacchino’s episcopal ordination will take place in March, but the date has not yet been announced.

Wichita’s newly named bishop is a native of Illinois. He grew up on a small family farm in rural Shumway, Ill. His family attended of Annunciation Church there and his parents are still members of the parish. Bishop-designate Baldacchino was born in Malta; he holds dual citizenship in his home country and the United States.

Msgr. Robert E. Hemberger, Wichita’s diocesan administrator, said Bishop-designate Kemme will find in his new diocese “a people who are resourceful and faith-filled … who know about the great love of God for each and all human beings. … who are ready to roll up their sleeves and make a difference in this part of the world.”

“He will find a people who will welcome and work, who will pray and hope, who will create beauty and community,” added the priest in a statement introducing Bishop-designate Kemme at a morning news conference.

“Pope Francis has reached into the heart of Illinois, to the diocese of Springfield, to call forth a pastor. God has heard our prayers for a wise and loving bishop to guide us in building up the body of Christ and the reign of God,” said Msgr. Hemberger.

Bishop-designate Kemme was ordained a priest for the Springfield Diocese in 1986, and named a monsignor in 2002. He has been parochial vicar, pastor or administrator at a number of parishes. He has had two tenures as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the diocese, from 2002 to 2009, then from 2010 to the present.

In between those assignments, he was pastor of St. John Vianney Church in Sherman, Ill., and from 2009 to 2010 served as administrator of the diocese, after then-Bishop George J. Lucas was named archbishop of Omaha, Neb., and before Springfield’s current bishop, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, was installed.

Bishop-designate Kemme, the son of Donald and Marita Kemme, has four brothers and one sister and. He studied at the Springfield’s diocesan Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Cardinal Glennon College in St. Louis and Kenrick Seminary, also in St. Louis.

“As time unfolds, we’ll get to know each other very well, perhaps and hopefully for me to know you by name,” said Bishop-designate Kemme in a statement at the Wichita news conference. “I look forward to that discovery and I hope you do as well.

“For today, it is enough to acknowledge that now we are in this together, writing together the next chapter, a glorious, hope filled and exciting chapter in the history of the Diocese of Wichita,” he continued. “This is the joy of the Gospel about which Pope Francis has recently written to the church. It is your joy and mine to follow the Lord together, as brothers and sisters and to leave no one behind. … The fact that our journeys have now intersected by God’s providence and from now on we will journey together makes me very happy, very happy indeed.”

Bishop Paprocki said in a statement Bishop-designate Kemme “is a man of deep faith and love for the Lord and the people of God. We will all be sorry to see him leave our diocese, but we congratulate him on his appointment and rejoice that he will share his abundant abilities with the wider church.”

The Wichita Diocese covers more than 20,000 square miles. Catholics number about 113,000 out of a total population of close to 1 million.

In Miami, Bishop-designate Baldacchino will assist Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, who welcomed the appointment of an auxiliary bishop, the first for the archdiocese in about three years.

Peter Baldacchino was born Dec. 5, 1960, in Sliema, Malta, and holds citizenship in both the United States and Malta. He studied for the priesthood at Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Newark, 1990-1996, and was ordained a priest for the archdiocese in 1996. He was named a monsignor in 2009.

After his priestly ordination, he was parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Ridgewood, N.J., for three years. Then in 1999 he was named chancellor of the Turks and Caicos Islands. By the end of 1998 the chain of islands, about 90 miles north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, had been put under the jurisdiction of the Newark Archdiocese at the request of the Vatican.

Since 2002, Bishop-designate Baldacchino also has been pastor of Our Lady of Providence Church on Providenciales Island.

He holds a diploma in sciences from the University of Malta; electrical installation licenses from Umberto Calosso Trade School, Malta; a bachelor of arts from Thomas A. Edison State College in Trenton, N.J., and a master’s of divinity degree in pastoral ministry from the School of Theology at Seton Hall University in Orange, N.J.

He speaks English, Italian, Maltese, Spanish and Creole.

The Miami Archdiocese, which covers three counties in South Florida, has a Catholic population of more than 1.3 million out of a total population of 4.4 million. Mass is celebrated in 17 languages; there are 108 churches and missions and 57 schools.

 

 

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