Pope Francis on Saturday appointed three auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of New York, including one priest who ministered at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York praised the bishops-to-be as “seasoned pastors” with “years of acclaimed ministry in all areas of the archdiocese.”
“Congratulations to our new auxiliary bishops, and I know that you join me in praying that they be true, faithful, and dedicated successors to the apostles,” the cardinal told the faithful of his archdiocese in a June 14 statement.
The bishops-designate are Monsignor John Jenik and Fathers John O'Hara and Peter Byrne.
The apostolic nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, announced their appointments.
Bishop-designate Jenik was born in Manhattan on March 7, 1944. He attended Cathedral College and earned a bachelor's degree from St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y. He attended Puerto Rico's University of Ponce to learn more about the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. He holds a master's degree in education from Fordham University, the U.S. bishops' conference reports.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1970 and became parochial vicar of the Bronx parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1994. He has worked to provide housing for the poor, to combat crime, corruption, drugs and prostitution. Bishop-designate Jenik was named a monsignor in 1995.
He helped the archdiocese regionalize its Catholic schools. He has served as vicar for the Northwest Bronx since 2006. He is presently pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Parish.
Bishop-designate O'Hara was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on Feb. 7, 1946. He holds a bachelor's degree from Seton Hall University and worked in journalism and broadcasting from 1967 to 1980 before entering St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers. Ordained to the priesthood in 1984, he served as parochial vicar at several New York City-area parishes before becoming pastor of St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus Parish on Staten Island. He became the New York archdiocese's vicar for planning in 2013 and directs the archdiocese's Strategic Pastoral Planning Office.
Bishop-designate Byrne was born July 24, 1951 in Manhattan. He received a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University and also attended St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1984. He has served as a pastor of the Staten Island parishes of Immaculate Conception and St. John the Baptist. He became pastor of New York City’s Church of St. Elizabeth in New York City in 2013.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the bishop-designate worked for many weeks ministering to bereaved families at the morgue at the World Trade Center site, the New York archdiocese said.
Cardinal Dolan noted that bishops-designate Jenik and Byrne have lived and served primarily in Hispanic parishes.
“They will be especially attentive, I know, to the needs of this ever-growing community,” he said.
The New York archdiocese presently has two auxiliary bishops, Gerald Walsh and Dominick Lagonegro.
Cardinal Dolan said the auxiliary bishops and the bishops-designate will aid him in serving the pastoral, educational and charitable needs of “our vast archdiocese.”
“They will, as well, work very closely with our vicars in visiting our parishes and priests and in representing me at various archdiocesan events,” he said.
The cardinal also acknowledged the continued service of the retired New York archbishop Cardinal Edward Egan and retired auxiliary bishops Robert Brucato and Josu Iriondo.
The bishops-designate will be ordained on Aug. 4 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.