Two parish priests chosen as next auxiliary bishops of Baltimore

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Upon accepting the resignation of Bishop Denis Madden, Pope Francis has appointed two priests to be the next auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Vatican announced Monday.

"With gratitude to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, I warmly welcome the appointment of Monsignors Mark Brennan and Adam Parker as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Baltimore," Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore expressed in a statement published Dec. 5.

"This is a joyous and blessed day for our Archdiocese."

In addition to the position of auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Adam J. Parker will also be given the titular see of Tasaccora, and Msgr. Mark E. Brennan the titular see of Rusubisir, the Dec. 5 communique said.

Msgr. Parker, a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, currently serves as Vicar general and Moderator of the Curia for the archdiocese, and Msgr. Brennan is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

In a statement released Dec. 5, Msgr. Parker said that from the beginning of his priesthood, he has "consistently prayed the words, 'Thy will be done.'"

"Now that I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve God's people as a bishop, my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will continue to lead and guide me to do God's will and in so doing, that I may be a faithful shepherd and an instrument of God's love and mercy."

In a statement on his own appointment, Msgr. Brennan said "I am humbled that, at this stage in my life and being simply a parish priest, I have been asked by Pope Francis to serve the good people of Baltimore as an auxiliary bishop. It is something I never expected but I will trust in God and do my best."

"I have found that God never lets us down. As He has promised, His grace is always there for us, so I will take up my responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Baltimore with gratitude and openness to both God and the people."

Msgr. Parker, 44, was born in Cleveland, Ohio Jan. 13, 1972. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 1994 with a degree in Communication, he attended St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore and the North American College in Rome.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Baltimore on May 27, 2000. While in Rome, he also attended the Pontifical Gregorian University, obtaining a licentiate in sacramental theology.

In his statement, Archbishop Lori said that Msgr. Parker is "widely regarded by his co-workers and fellow priests and is well-prepared to assume the duties of Auxiliary Bishop."

Since his ordination, Msgr. Parker has been both assistant pastor and pastor at several parishes, as well as Vice Chancellor and private secretary to the archbishop. During 2012-2013 he was secretary to Cardinal Edwin O'Brien in Rome. He then returned to Baltimore where he has served as Vicar general and Moderator of the Curia since 2014.

He was given the title of Monsignor in 2011. In addition to English, Msgr. Parker speaks both Italian and Spanish.

One thing he is looking forward to in his new role, Msgr. Parker said, is celebrating the "gifts of the Holy Spirit" in the Sacrament of Confirmation, "especially with our young people."

"I am very much looking forward to continuing to walk the path of personal conversion alongside the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore as we strive to be missionary disciples and to live out our baptismal call each day."

Msgr. Brennan, 69, was born Feb. 6, 1947 in Boston, Mass. He obtained a bachelor's degree at Brown University and attended Christ the King Seminary in New York and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he received a bachelor's and master's in theology.

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He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington May 15, 1976, and from 1985-1986 spent a year in the Dominican Republic doing "Hispanic Immersion Studies." He has been assistant pastor and pastor at several parishes, specifically providing pastoral ministry to the Hispanic community at St. Bartholomew parish from 1988-1989.

The bishop-elect has also held the position of director of priestly vocations and priestly programs for the Archdiocese of Washington and has been a member of the Priests' Council and the College of Consultors. He was Vicar Forane of "Northwest Deanery West" from 2002-2005 and Advocate of the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2006.

In 2005 he was given the title of Monsignor. In addition to English, he speaks Spanish and knows French and Italian.

In his statement, Archbishop Lori highlighted Msgr. Brennan's four decades of experience as a priest, pointing specifically to his recent service as pastor of a parish with a significant Spanish-speaking population.

"His pastoral leadership and experience working with Spanish-speaking Catholics suits him well for the duties of Auxiliary Bishop, which include helping to oversee our efforts to grow and care for the spiritual needs of Spanish-speaking Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore," Lori said.

"I reiterate my gratitude to the Holy Father for this early Christmas gift, and join my prayers to those of the many priests and lay faithful of this Archdiocese on behalf of Bishops-elect Brennan and Parker."

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