New bishop for New Orleans a, “devoted, gifted, exemplary” priest

.- The Vatican Press Office announced today that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Dominic Carmon, Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans, due to age, and has announced a new auxiliary for the archdiocese.  Bishop-elect Shelton Fabre is currently a priest of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and is said to be a “devoted, gifted, exemplary and highly respected priest.”

The 43-year old bishop-elect is a native of the Baton Rouge Diocese and was ordained a priest of the diocese in 1989.  He holds a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium.

He has served as pastor or parochial vicar at several parishes in the diocese and has worked in a number of capacities in diocesan offices and committees, including the Clergy Personnel Board, Pastoral Planning Committee, Office of Black Catholics, and Presbyteral Council.

Commenting on the appointment of Fabre to the episcopate, Bishop Robert Muench of Baton Rouge, described him as a, “devoted, gifted, exemplary and highly respected priest, who comes from a faith-filled family.”

Bishop-elect Fabre, “exhibits strong intellect, genuine piety and true fidelity to Christ and the Church. He is especially noted for his humble demeanor, perceptive judgment, zealous ministry and articulate preaching,” Muench added.

The Baton Rouge Bishop also noted that through this appointment the Holy See has recognized, yet again, “the vibrancy of the Catholic faith in the African-American community in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.”  The Bishop listed off several African-American bishops who had been appointed from the diocese in recent years.

In his remarks, the bishop-elect sent a particular greeting to the large African-American community of New Orleans, “whose faith,” he said, “is such a gift to this local Church and beyond.”

Fabre recognized the history and richness of the whole New Orleans Catholic Community and made reference to the continued rebuilding from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina disaster.  “Your resiliency in faith in response to this tragedy has been witnessed by many,” he said.

Through all the changes and uncertainties of life, Fabre affirmed, “the only constant is the love of God poured out upon the world in our Lord Jesus Christ. Regardless of what we face in life, Jesus Christ is our firm foundation, and in him all things are made new and filled over and over again with the enduring love and promises of our faithful God. As so many here in New Orleans seek to rebuild their lives and to renew their hope, it is my fervent desire and prayer that to the best of my ability I will be able in some way to bring assistance, comfort and the assurance of God's love and presence to all who are suffering.

Fabre, expressed his gratitude to Pope Benedict, Bishop Muench, and New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes for their confidence in him, assuring them that he would do his best and would probably come often to Hughes for his “wisdom and guidance,” due to his own, “somewhat youthful inexperience.”

Archbishop Hughes said he is grateful for the, “deep faith, profound humanity and pastoral zeal,” that the new bishop will bring to New Orleans.

Hughes also thanked Bishop Carmon for his many years of “humble, sincere and generous service to the archdiocese.”

The retiring bishop had served as an auxiliary for New Orleans since 1992.  His resignation was accepted today, on the date of his 76th birthday.

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