New York welcomes new bishops for Albany, Rockville dioceses
by Elise Harris
Pope Francis greets bishops and cardinals after his general audience address on Sept. 25, 2013 Credit: Elise Harris/CNA
Pope Francis greets bishops and cardinals after his general audience address on Sept. 25, 2013 Credit: Elise Harris/CNA

.- The Vatican announced earlier this morning that Msgr. Edward B. Scharfenberger will take the helm as the new Bishop of Albany, NY, with Msgr. Andrzej Jerzy Zglejszewski stepping up as auxiliary of Rockville Centre.

“How grateful I am to His Holiness Pope Francis for the awesome privilege to serve as pastor of all the wonderful people in the Diocese of Albany,” Bishop-elect Scharfenberger stated in the Feb. 11 press release announcing his appointment.

“It is humbling when I think that I soon will be counted among the successors of the Lord's Apostles,” he said, emphasizing that “I am not worthy of this office and I hope that our priests, deacons, religious and lay people will pray for me often as, together, we continue along our journey of faith.”

Born in Brooklyn in 1948, Msgr. Scharfenberger was ordained a priest on July 2, 1973 in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, by Bishop James A. Hickey, who was later named Cardinal-Archbishop of Washington D.C., and will be taking the place of Bishop Howard Hubbard, who has stepped down upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.

Since 2002, the Bishop-elect has served as Pastor of St. Matthias Church in Ridgewood, which is a multi-ethnic parish with a large German congregation, Albany’s newspaper the “Times Union” reports.

Among his other recent assignments are included his service as Vicar for Strategic Planning, and Episcopal Vicar for Queens.

Msgr. Scharfenberger will be introduced this morning during an 11 a.m. news conference at the diocese's Pastoral Center in Albany, and the date of his ordination as Bishop is yet to be announced.

In wake of the appointment, Bishop Hubbard expressed that Msgr. Scharfenberger’s “rich background” in both canon and civil law, as well as his years as pastor of a multi-ethnic parish, “will serve him well in our Diocese and will be most appreciated by our growing Hispanic speaking community.”

“We are most grateful that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has graced us with such a gifted shepherd and we pledge him our prayers, loyalty, support and love.”

Also announced today was Pope Francis’ appointment of Msgr. Andrzej Jerzy Zglejszewski, 52, as Auxiliary Bishop for the diocese of Rockville Center, NY.

Bishop-Elect Zglejszewski, born in Czarna Biarostocta, Poland in 1961, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre by Bishop John R. McGann in 1990, where he currently serves as co-chancellor and director of the office of worship for the diocese.

“I think everyone is very surprised by the news coming from Rome, and I hope everyone will understand why my heart and mind turns into both wonder and joy,” he stated in the Feb. 11 press release announcing his appointment.

“I am humbled by the Holy Father’s appointment and even though I always wanted to serve God and the Church in the best way I can, I am overwhelmed with the sense of my unworthiness.”

Following his ordination to the priesthood, Msgr. Zglejszewski served as an associate pastor in the Parish of St. Christopher, Baldwin, in St. Thomas the Apostle parish in West Hempstead, and then in the parish of Saint Rose of Lima, Massapequa until he was appointed as director of the Diocesan Office of Worship, and in 2012, co-chancellor, Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The Bishop-elect studied both philosophy and theology in Bialystok before coming to the United States in 1987, where completed his studies for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York.

Msgr. Zglejszewski will be ordained as a bishop by Rev. William Murphy, Bishop of the diocese of Rockville Center, at the Cathedral of Saint Agnes in New York on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.

Regarding his appointment, Bishop Murphy noted that “I am very grateful to the Holy Father for giving our Diocese this good and holy priest of many talents to assist me in the pastoral care of the 1.5 million Catholics of our Diocese.”

“I know the priests, deacons, liturgical ministers and all the people of God will welcome this appointment… with gratitude to God and with great joy.”

Although the bishop-elect expressed that he is “humbled and in fear of my own unworthiness,” he asked for both “support and prayers” in his new mission.

“I turn to Mary and Joseph and ask them for their assistance and help. I want, like Joseph, ‘Not to be afraid’ and respond to the whispers of the Holy Spirit in the same way Mary did, ‘Fiat Voluntas Tua,’ – May everything be done everywhere according to God’s will.”

Tags: Vatican, Bishop Appointment, New York

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