Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan of New York to lead the Diocese of Camden, N.J., accepting the resignation of his predecessor.

In a Jan. 8 statement, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York praised Bishop Sullivan, calling him "one of the finest bishops I know" and describing him as "an invaluable help" and "my right hand."

The bishop's years of service have given him "a special closeness and dedication to the immigrant community, particularly the Latino and Asian population," the cardinal reflected, adding that he has always treated "every situation with the heart and mind of a pastor, always asking how we can do more for the people."

"Bishop Sullivan always generously shared with me his wise counsel and insights, based on his more than 40 years of priesthood in this archdiocese he proudly calls home," he explained.

The 67-year-old bishop will succeed Bishop Joseph A. Galante, whose resignation was accepted by the Holy Father as the new appointment was made on Jan. 8.

Although he is one year short of submitting his mandatory resignation at age 75, Bishop Galante had requested early retirement due to health problems.

Bishop Galante has headed the Diocese of Camden since 2004. He had previously served in several Texas dioceses.

Born March 17, 1945, in New York City, Bishop Sullivan studied at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., and the Catholic University in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York in 1971, he was named a monsignor in 1999 and an auxiliary bishop in 2004.

Over the past years, Bishop Sullivan has served as pastor and parochial vicar at several churches in New York. He is currently the vicar general for the archdiocese.

In the U.S. bishops' conference, he is a member of the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Islanders and the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People.

When he is installed on Feb. 12, Bishop Sullivan will become the eighth bishop of Camden, leading a diocese that is home to half a million Catholics. The diocese includes the New Jersey counties of Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem.

Cardinal Edward M. Egan, archbishop-emeritus of New York, called the appointment "a singular blessing" for the people of Camden.

The cardinal noted Bishop Sullivan's "total commitment to the clergy, religious, and faithful of the Archdiocese, especially those of Latin American and Asian heritage and those most in need," adding that he found this to be "a source of genuine inspiration and admiration."