Bishops' religious freedom chair named new Archbishop of Baltimore

Bishop William E Lori Credit Knights of Columbus CNA US Catholic News 3 20 12 Archbishop-designate William E. Lori. | Knights of Columbus

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. bishops' committee on religious freedom, as the 16th Archbishop of Baltimore on March 20.

“The very thought of serving and leading the nation's 'Premier See' fills me with joy and also with profound gratitude, first and foremost to the Lord who shepherds his people in love,” said Bishop Lori, referring to the long-standing national primacy of the first Catholic diocese established in the U.S.

Archbishop-designate Lori's installation will take place May 16 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. In an announcement from the Baltimore archdiocese, the new archbishop-designate thanked the Pope for entrusting him with leadership of the “great and historic” local Church.

As the Vatican announced Archbishop-designate Lori's appointment, it also revealed the Pope's choice of new bishops for Rockford, Ill. and Pensacola-Tallahassee in Florida, as well as a new Archbishop of Montreal, Canada.

In Montreal, Cardinal Archbishop Jean-Claude Turcotte will be succeeded by his auxiliary Bishop Christian Lepine. Rockford's bishop-designate is Milwaukee-based pastor Monsignor David Malloy, while the Pensacola-Tallahassee diocese will be headed by Father Gregory Parkes from the Orlando diocese.

Meanwhile, Bishop Lori's new appointment to Baltimore comes almost exactly 11 years after he was installed – on March 19, 2001 – in his most recent post as the Bishop of Bridgeport, Conn.

In the announcement of his new appointment, Bishop Lori thanked Baltimore's two past archbishops, Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien and Cardinal William H. Keeler, “and their predecessors stretching back to Archbishop John Carroll.”

He declared that he was looking forward to meeting and working with “all whose witness to Christ and whose spirit of loving service enable this historic archdiocese to proclaim the Gospel afresh in our times and bring its truths and values into the public square.”

Cardinal O'Brien, who led the Baltimore archdiocese from 2007 until his 2011 appointment to an international position, welcomed Archbishop-designate Lori and thanked Pope Benedict for the appointment. 

“I have known Bishop Lori for many years and have been impressed by his deep love of the Church and her people, and by his extraordinary work both as Bishop of Bridgeport and as a valued leader on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,” said Cardinal O'Brien.

He noted that the outgoing Bishop of Bridgeport had “solidified the foundation of that local Church in many key areas, most especially Catholic education, evangelization, and priestly vocations,” while also serving the U.S. Church more broadly in areas such as marriage and the protection of children.

“This Archdiocese has been blessed with many outstanding leaders through the years and our Holy Father has continued this tradition with the naming of Bishop Lori as the 16th Archbishop of the Premier See,” Cardinal O'Brien stated, promising his “prayers and encouragement.”

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