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Pope Francis accepts resignation of Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, names Father James T. Ruggieri as successor

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Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, celebrates Mass at Star of the Sea Church in York Beach Aug. 21, 2022. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Deeley, 77, on Feb. 13, 2024, and named a Rhode Island pastor, Father James T. Ruggieri, 56, as his successor. (OSV News photo/courtesy Diocese of Portland)

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, and appointed as his successor Father James T. Ruggieri, a pastor in the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island.

Bishop Deeley has headed the statewide diocese just one day shy of 10 years: He was installed as Portland’s 12th bishop Feb. 14, 2014, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. Bishop Deeley is 77; canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope when they turn 75.

Bishop-designate Ruggieri, 56, is currently pastor of St. Patrick Parish and St. Michael Parish in Providence. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Providence June 24, 1995.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington Feb. 13 by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-designate Ruggieri has been the pastor of St. Patrick since 2003 and St. Michael since 2021.

Born on Jan. 12, 1968, in Providence, he attended public schools in Barrington, Rhode Island, followed by studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and at Providence College in Rhode Island (1986-1990). He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy while attending Our Lady of Providence Seminary. He received a master’s in divinity and a bachelor’s in sacred theology from St. Mary Seminary and University (1990-1995) in Baltimore.

Father James T. Ruggieri, a pastor in the Diocese of Providence, R.I., pictured in an undated photo, has been appointed bishop of Portland, Maine. On Feb. 13, 2024, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland and named the Rhode Island pastor as his successor. Bishop Deeley, who has headed the diocese since his installation Feb. 14, 2013, is 77. Canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope when they turn 75. (OSV News photo/Laura Kilgus, Rhode Island Catholic)

His first assignment after his ordination was as assistant pastor at St. Matthew Parish in Cranston (1995-1998), followed by other pastoral assignments including at St. Aloysius, St. Ann and Our Lady of Victories parishes in Woonsocket (1998-2001), and Holy Spirit Catholic Community in Central Falls (2001-2003). He was administrator of St. Casimir Parish in Providence (2004-2011) and St. John the Baptist Parish in Pawtucket (2005-2006).

Bishop-designate Ruggieri’s additional responsibilities for the Diocese of Providence have included serving as vicar forane for Providence Central City (2006-2009), and a member of the diocesan council of priests (2008-2011) and the priests’ personnel board (2013-2014). He speaks English and Spanish.

Born June 18, 1946, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the fourth of five sons of Irish-immigrant parents, Bishop Deeley was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston in 1973. He had been a Boston auxiliary bishop for less than a year when Pope Francis named him to head the Portland Diocese on Dec. 18, 2013.

He was an official of what was then the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2004 to 2010. Following his Vatican service, he became the Boston Archdiocese’s┬ávicar general. He was ordained a Boston auxiliary bishop Jan. 4, 2013.

The Diocese of Portland covers the state of Maine. It has a total population of nearly 1.4 million, of whom 286,095 are Catholic.