.- Pope Benedict XVI today named Monsignor Peter A. Libasci, 55, to be a new auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The Holy Father also accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Emil A. Wcela, age 75.
The Diocese’s Ordinary, Bishop William Murphy introduced bishop-elect Libasci this morning, giving thanks to God, “whose hand is always guiding this Church. I express my fraternal and filial appreciation to the Holy Father for this latest expression of his care for our diocese as we celebrate our Golden Jubilee.”
Since 1999, Bishop-Elect Libasci has served as pastor of St. Therese of Lisieux parish in Montauk. Bishop-Elect Libasci presided over the entire construction process of a new church, which was dedicated by Bishop William Murphy on March 31, 2007. Bishop-Elect Libasci also possesses bi-ritual facilities to celebrate the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Ruthenian Church.
“Bishop-Elect Libasci is a blessing for us all,” said Bishop Murphy. A priest of our diocese for 29 years, a pastor beloved by his people in Montauk, our new bishop brings many gifts and talents that he now will share with the whole diocese, with particular care for the People of God in the eastern part of Suffolk County. I am personally thrilled that he has accepted this apostolic mandate from the Holy Father to serve this local church as auxiliary bishop.”
Prior to his arrival in Montauk, Bishop-Elect Libasci served for 11 years as administrator and then pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish, Inwood, N.Y. Previously, Bishop-Elect Libasci served for nearly six years as associate pastor of SS. Cyril and Methodius parish in Deer Park. Bishop-Elect Libasci’s first assignment as a priest was as an associate pastor of St. Raymond’s parish in East Rockaway from 1978-1982.
A native of Middle Village, N.Y., Bishop-Elect Libasci earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. John’s University. Bishop-Elect Libasci was ordained in 1978 after earning his Master of Divinity degree from St. Meinrad Seminary, Indiana.
“It is with deep humility and joy that I accept this appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre,” Bishop-Elect Libasci said. “I’m grateful to the Holy Father for appointing me. I also thank my dear friend Bishop Murphy. I look forward to assisting him in serving the needs of the People of God of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.”
The outgoing Auxiliary, Bishop Emil A. Wcela has served as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre since 1988. He has worked as the vicar for the Eastern Vicariate of the diocese and as Vicar General.
“Bishop Wcela has been a wonderful brother and has supported me and my predecessors,” said Bishop Murphy. “I want to express my deep gratitude to him for all his contributions to this local Church. He has been a good friend and wise counselor to me. I have the highest regard for him and know he will continue to be a presence whose priestly example and holy life will help and inspire us all.”
Bishop-Elect Libasci will be ordained as a bishop at St. Agnes Cathedral in the Village of Rockville Centre, N.Y.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre has two other active auxiliary bishops, Bishop John C. Dunne, 69, and Bishop Paul H. Walsh, 69. Auxiliary Bishop James Daly retired in 1996.