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Pope Francis names new auxiliary bishop for Saint Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese

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Pope Francis on Friday named a new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

The pope appointed Father Joseph A. Williams, a priest of the archdiocese, to the role on Dec. 10.

The 47-year-old is the pastor of the Church of St. Stephen and the Church of the Holy Rosary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the archdiocese’s Vicar for Latino Ministry.

Bishop-elect Williams said: “I am humbled and honored by Pope Francis’ appointment. I love Jesus and His Church, and I look forward to joining the faithful of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in sharing that love with our neighbors, especially the poor and the immigrant.”

“I have had the privilege of serving our Spanish-speaking sisters and brothers for over 15 years. Their tender love of God and devotion to the priesthood have inspired me to live out my vows daily.”

“I am confident the Holy Spirit will show Archbishop Hebda how I may best support him in caring for all the wonderful people of this archdiocese. Please pray for us.”

The appointment comes after the pope named Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese, as the new bishop of Crookston, Minnesota, in October.

Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, who has led the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis since 2016, described Williams’ appointment as a “great joy.”

“The priests and faithful of the archdiocese should be honored that the Holy Father has chosen a native son, nurtured, nourished, and formed in this local Church, to serve as a Successor of the Apostles,” he said.

“His deep faith, pastoral heart, love for Christ and his flock, and impressive natural gifts all suggest that the Lord has long been preparing him to serve as a bishop.”

The 62-year-old archbishop praised the bishop-elect’s “heart for the poor and those on the periphery,” as well as his “evangelical zeal,” and his contribution to the archdiocese’s Latino ministry.

He announced that Williams’ episcopal ordination will take place on Jan. 25, 2022, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, at the Cathedral of St. Paul, the national shrine of the Apostle Paul.

“May Our Lady of Loreto, on whose feast he was named, guide him always to the compassionate heart of her Son,” he said.

Williams was born in Minneapolis on May 2, 1974. He studied at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, where he discerned a vocation to the priesthood.

He began his priestly training at the Saint Paul Seminary in Minnesota in 1998, earning a Masters of Divinity.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis on May 28, 2002, by Archbishop Harry J. Flynn.

He then served in the parishes of the Cathedral of St. Paul, Divine Mercy in Faribault, and St. Mathias in Hampton, and St. Mary in New Trier.

He was appointed pastor of St. Stephen in 2008, taking on responsibility for Holy Rosary parish in 2020. He was named episcopal vicar for Hispanic ministry in 2018.

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis serves an estimated 825,000 Catholics in 12 counties of the State of Minnesota.

It was established as the Diocese of Saint Paul in 1850 and elevated to an archdiocese in 1888. It was renamed the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 1966.

The archdiocese has more than 400 priests and nearly 200 deacons serving in 187 parishes.

 

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