Pope Francis today appointed Bishop Robert Deeley, who has been an auxiliary bishop of Boston for the past year, as bishop of the Diocese of Portland, which serves the state of Maine.

"As I prepare to serve the faithful of the Diocese of Portland as their new bishop and shepherd, I wish to offer my gratitude first to our Holy Father Pope Francis for entrusting me with this honor and responsibility and to Cardinal Seán O'Malley, who has taught me much of what it means to be a faithful shepherd through his word and example," Bishop Deeley said in a Dec. 18 statement.

"Kindly pray for me and for all God's holy people that we may be what the Lord calls us to be, the community of the Church showing forth the love that God has shown us in his Son, Jesus."

Bishop Deeley succeeds Bishop Richard Malone, who was appointed Bishop of Buffalo in May, 2012.

"We have known each other from the day we entered the seminary in September 1964," said Bishop Malone. "While our educational journeys and ministerial assignments took us in different directions, our paths have intersected many times in these nearly 40 years we have known each other. And so it is that I can promise the people of our great Diocese of Portland that they will be pastored by a man who is, in St. Timothy's words, truly 'strong, loving and wise'."

Bishop Deeley, who is 67, was born in Cambridge, Mass. to Irish emigrants. Following high school, he attended minor seminary in Jamaica Plain, and later studied philosophy at Catholic University of America, where he graduated in 1968.

He then studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston in 1973. He served in parishes and on the archdiocesan tribunal, serving as judicial vicar from 1989 to 1999, and served as president of the Canon Law Society of America in 2000.

Bishop Deeley worked in Rome at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2004 to 2011, when he returned to Boston as vicar general and moderator of the curia.

He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Boston in November, 2012, and was consecrated Jan. 4 of this year.

Cardinal Archbishop Seán O'Malley of Boston said that "Pope has blessed the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Portland" in appointing Bishop Deeley as their shepherd, affirming him in particular for his guidance of a pastoral planning initiative in the archdiocese.

"The Archdiocese of Boston will greatly miss Bishop Deeley's leadership that follows from a deep love for the Church … the Bishop's significant experience in the life and work of the universal Church will greatly assist the people he serves as they carry out the mission entrusted to them by Jesus Christ. Our prayerful congratulations are with Bishop Deeley as he goes forward to lead the Diocese of Portland."

Bishop Deeley's Mass of Installation will be said Feb. 14, 2014, at Portland's Immaculate Conception cathedral.