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Pope names two auxiliary bishops for Baltimore

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WASHINGTON —Pope Francis has named Msgr. Adam Parker, vicar general and moderator of the curia in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Msgr. Mark Brennan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, as auxiliary bishops for Baltimore.

Msgr. Mark Brennan, pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg, Md., is pictured in a Dec. 2 photo. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Brennan an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lipplemann, Catholic Standard)
Msgr. Mark Brennan, pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg, Md., is pictured in a Dec. 2 photo. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Brennan an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lipplemann, Catholic Standard)

The pope also has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, who is 76. Canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope at age 75. A Baltimore auxiliary since 2005, Bishop Madden is former chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

The changes were announced in Dec. 5 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishops-designate Parker and Brennan’s episcopal ordination will be Jan. 19 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore.

“This is a joyous and blessed day for our archdiocese,” Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said in a statement.

He said Bishop-designate Brennan, 69, will bring to his new role “his four decades of experience as a priest who has served in a variety of settings, including most recently as pastor of a large parish with a significant Spanish-speaking population.”

“His pastoral leadership and experience working with Spanish-speaking Catholics suits him well for the duties of auxiliary bishop, which include helping to oversee our efforts to grow and care for the spiritual needs of Spanish-speaking Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” Archbishop Lori added.

About Bishop-designate Parker, 44, he said he has “been blessed to work with (him) on a daily basis for much of my time since arriving as archbishop of Baltimore” in 2012. The priest “is widely regarded by his co-workers and fellow priests,” Archbishop Lori said, “and is well-prepared to assume the duties of auxiliary bishop, while continuing to manage the day-to-day operations of the central services offices of the archdiocese.”

Archbishop Lori said the archdiocese also has been blessed by the dedicated service of Bishop Madden. “I’m pleased that he will continue serving our local church (in retirement). … I am grateful for his selfless service and his willingness to continue serving God’s people.”

Bishop Madden was Baltimore’s only active auxiliary after then-Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski was named bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts, in June 2014.

Msgr. Adam J. Parker, vicar general and moderator of the curia in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, is pictured in an early October photo. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Parker an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, The Catholic Review)
Msgr. Adam J. Parker, vicar general and moderator of the curia in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, is pictured in an early October photo. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Parker an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, The Catholic Review)

Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl in a statement said Bishop-designate Brennan’s appointment “is a tribute to his faithful and fruitful priestly ministry.”

“We in the church of Washington have greatly appreciated Msgr. Brennan and his pastoral ministry over the years,” he said. “Together with the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Washington, I offer heartfelt congratulations to Msgr. Brennan.

“We will miss him, but know that the Archdiocese of Baltimore will be gaining a fine pastoral leader. He brings with him our prayers for his success.”

Bishop designate-Parker has been the Baltimore archdiocese’s vicar general and moderator of the curia since 2014. From 2013-2104, he was vice chancellor for a year before that. He was priest-secretary to now-Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, from 2007-2012, when he headed the Baltimore Archdiocese.

“From the earliest days of my priesthood, in all kinds of situations and most especially in times of transition, I have consistently prayed the words, ‘Thy will be done,’” Bishop-designate Parker said in a statement about his appointment. “Such was my prayer when I received the news that I had been appointed auxiliary bishop of Baltimore. … My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will continue to lead and guide me to do God’s will and in so doing, that I may be a faithful shepherd and an instrument of God’’s love and mercy.”

Since 2003, Bishop-designate Brennan has been pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg, Md., a multilingual parish that is one of the largest in the Washington Archdiocese.

He celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood this year. Reflecting on his vocation during a recent interview with the Catholic Standard, Washington’s archdiocesan newspaper, he said he felt an “overwhelming sense of God’s faithfulness. … The Lord is always there for me, giving me the help I need.”

The greatest challenge he said he faced as a parish priest “is just meeting the great variety of situations you encounter.” The greatest joy, he added, comes in seeing God’s “grace work in the lives of people,” for example, when couples he counseled are working through the difficulties in their marriage, or when a young person is back on the right path, or when a man whose confession he heard tells him that he helped turn around the problems he was facing.

In a statement about his appointment as an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore, he said he was humbled by it “at this stage in my life and being simply a parish priest.”

“It is something I never expected but I will trust in God and do my best. I have found that God never lets us down,” Bishop-designate Brennan said. “As he has promised, his grace is always there for us, so I will take up my responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Baltimore with gratitude and openness to both God and the people.”

Born in Boston Feb, 6, 1947, Bishop-designate Brennan earned a bachelor of arts degree from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1969. He pursued seminary studies at Christ the King Seminary in Albany, New York, 1969-1970. In 1972 he received a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, 1972; he also earned a graduate degree from the Gregorian in 1974. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington May 15, 1976.

Over the years he has had a number of parish posts around the archdiocese. He oversaw pastoral care to the Hispanic community from 1988-1989; and was director of vocations and priest programs, 1988-1998. Among other assignments he has been vicar forane for the archdiocese, 2002-2005.

 

Mark Zimmermann in Washington contributed to this report.