Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hierarchy update

Keeping up the fervent pace sustained through last year, it was announced this morning that the Holy Father appointed His Excellency, Bishop Joe Vasquez, an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, as the new bishop of Austin, Texas. Bishop Vasquez is 52 years-old. Vasquez's assignment marks the Holy Father's second episcopal appointment for the U.S. this new year. Prior to being named an auxiliary bishop, he was a priest of one of my old stomping grounds, where I did a bit of my pre-ordination internship: San Angelo, Texas. Bishop Vasquez and I have the same middle name- Stephen! Bishop Vasquez succeeds now- Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who was returned home last year as the archbishop of the Big Easy. His job now being to root and pray the Saints to victory!

As with the appointment of Bishop-elect William Mulvey to Corpus Christi last week, Bishop Vasquez's appointment to Austin creates no new vacancies. So, there are now five vacant Latin Rite sees in the United States: Springfield in Illinois; Scranton, PA; Ogdensburg, NY; LaCrosse, WI; Harrisburg, PA. The Syrian Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, headquartered in Newark, NJ, is also vacant after Archbishop Younan was selected by the holy synod of that church last year to be their patriarch. Along the lines of Eastern Catholic Churches, I was very happy to see this heading in yesterday's Vatican Information Service bulletin: ACTS OF THE ORIENTAL CHURCHES. Presently, there are two archbishops (i.e., Beltran of Oklahoma City and Brunett of Seattle) and two bishops (Higi of Layfayette, IN and Skylstad of Spokane) serving past age 75. I am hearing some credible rumblings, a few whispers in the loggia, as it were, regarding Seattle.

As always, one cannot give too much credit to Catholic Hierarchy.

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