WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, and named Father Kevin J. Sweeney, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, as his successor.
Bishop Serratelli is 75, the age at which canon requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. Bishop-designate Sweeney, 50, will be the eighth bishop of Paterson.
The resignation and appointment were announced in Washington April 15 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio issued a congratulatory statement about Bishop-designate Sullivan’s appointment, saying, “I could not think of a better choice.”
As a priest, he has served the diocese for 22 years, Bishop DiMarzio said, “and is an outstanding example of a parish priest. I know he is a man of prayer and is a zealous advocate of vocations to the priesthood.”
Bishop-designate Sweeney is fluent in Spanish, having studied the language extensively in programs in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
He is expected to begin his ministry in the Diocese of Paterson later this year. The date for his episcopal ordination has not been scheduled due to the pandemic.
Until that time, Bishop Serratelli will serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese. A native of Newark, New Jersey, the now-retired bishop was named to head the Paterson Diocese in 2004. Before that, he was an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark for four years.
A native of the New York borough of Queens, Kevin J. Sweeney was born Jan. 10, 1970, to the late James and Agnes (Blewitt) Sweeney. He has a sister, Marie Shanahan, a brother-in-law, Kevin, a brother, Brendan, and a sister-in-law, Tara, and five nieces and nephews.
He grew up in St. Luke’s Parish in Whitestone, New York, and attended Cathedral Prep from 1984 to 1988 and was a star on the high school seminary’s baseball team, excelling as an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. While his dream of playing professional baseball never materialized, he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
After high school graduation, he entered the Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston, New York, and studied at St. John’s University in New York, where he earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy in 1992. He then entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York, where he received a master of divinity degree in theology. During his time at the seminary in Huntington, he spent a pastoral year at St. Agatha’s Parish in Brooklyn.
On June 28, 1997, he was ordained for the Brooklyn Diocese by the late Bishop Thomas V. Daily. Then-Father Sweeney’s first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in Jamaica, New York, from 1997 to 2003. He was then assigned to Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Corona, New York, serving there from 2003 to 2004.
In 2004, Bishop DiMarzio named Father Sweeney diocesan vocations director, a position he held until 2010. During this time, he also served as the first director of the Pope John Paul II House of Discernment.
In January 2010, Bishop-designate Sweeney was appointed to his current assignment, as pastor of St. Michael’s Parish in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park section.
“This is a proud day for the Diocese of Brooklyn that the Holy Father would have chosen one of our priests to be a bishop in our tri-state area,” Bishop DiMarzio said in his statement.