Three auxiliary bishops named for Los Angeles; one resignation accepted

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis has named three auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Gerald E. Wilkerson, 75.

The changes were announced July 21 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The pope appointed two priests from Los Angeles and one from Chicago, the rector of Mundelein Seminary, to be auxiliary bishops.

Msgr. Joseph V. Brennan, 61, vicar general and moderator of the curia in Los Angeles since 2013, is a native of Van Nuys, California, whose studies and assignments have all been in the Southern California archdiocese.

Msgr. David G. O’Connell, 61, is a native of County Cork, Ireland, who studied at All Hallows College in Dublin before being ordained a priest of the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 1979. He has been pastor of St. Michael’s Parish in Los Angeles since 2003.

Father Robert Barron, 55, is a native of Chicago who has served as rector of Mundelein and president of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, also in Mundelein, Illinois, since 2012. He is founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.

Bishop Wilkerson turned 75 last October. Canon law requires bishops to offer their resignations at that age. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Bishop Wilkerson was ordained for the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 1965. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop Jan. 21, 1998.

Bishop-designates Brennan, O’Connell and Barron are expected to be ordained bishops this fall.

"I think it is clear that in appointing these new auxiliary bishops, Pope Francis really understands what the church needs — not just here in Los Angeles, but also in the United States and across the Americas," Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said in a statement.

Bishop-designate Father Barron told The Tidings, newspaper of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, that his main responsibility now will be to serve as an auxiliary bishop.

The author of almost a dozen books and a weekly radio commentator, the priest founded the nonprofit Word on Fire in 2000. He is creator of the "Catholicism" television series and is a regular presence on YouTube and the Web giving a Catholic perspective on mainstream cultural events.

Bishop-designate Brennan said the news of his appointment ?was like a punch in the stomach. I had an immediate gut reaction that my life was going to be very different. We make our plans, but God has other ideas."

Bishop-designate O’Connell, who has been serving in parishes in South L.A. for more than 25 years, has ministered to communities that have suffered through gang violence and drugs.

"I do believe what’s really important is for us to be out in the neighborhoods, to be out with the people," he said, explaining that his parishes always did Posadas and Stations of the Cross in the neighborhoods, not on church grounds.

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