Skip to comments.New Archbishop Expected To Be Named For Denver (Aquila)
Posted on 05/29/2012 2:24:54 AM PDT by markomalley
CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia has learned the naming of a Catholic archbishop for the Denver area is imminent and could come as early as Tuesday.
Bishop Sam Aquila, who is currently in Fargo, N.D., is expected to be named, according to Ferrugia.
Aquila used to be a priest here. If named, he'll replace Charles Chaput who left to become the archbishop of Philadelphia.
Charles Chaput is one of those headed for higher office. I seem to remember a rather important letter he wrote not too long ago.
By Marianne Medlin
Denver, Colo., May 29, 2012 / 06:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As Archbishop-designate Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo, N.D. assumes his role as Denver's new shepherd, the former Coloradan brings with him a love for the priesthood, a passion for pro-life advocacy and a heart for the youth.
I never, ever dreamed that I would ever return here, he told CNA. And now in the Father's providential plan and in his love, I'm now the archbishop.
It's amazing, he said, overcome with emotion.
Filling a position left vacant for over eight months, Archbishop-designate Aquila was announced on May 29 as the Denver archdioceses new leader by apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo M. Vigano in Washington, D.C.
The 61-year-old will succeed Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who led the Denver archdiocese for 14 years and was installed as head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in September 2011.
Denver's new archbishop said he was outdoors and gardening in Fargo when he received the news of his appointment from the nuncio.
I heard my cell phone ring, and when I looked at the number I realized that it was from Washington, D.C., and he thought, I'd better step aside for this conversation.
He recalled Archbishop Vigano on the other line telling him almost immediately that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has appointed you to be Archbishop of Denver.
Do you accept? the nuncio asked.
After pausing briefly, Archbishop-designate Aquila responded, I very willingly accept.
Although he said he is very excited for the new post, he also reflected on how it's one of those moments where it's bittersweet.
I've been in Fargo for 11 years, it's become home and I've developed wonderful friendships with the priests and the laity there.
Far from being a stranger in a new location, however, he will be returning to a placed that he called home for 25 years. Not only did the native Burbank, Californian study to become a priest in Denver, he served as the first rector of the local St. John Vianney Seminary.
He also vividly remembers Pope John Paul II's trip to Denver 1993 for World Youth Day, when he served on the committee that helped to put the visit together and assisted as master of ceremonies.
Since Blessed John Paul II's historic visit, the Denver archdiocese has been the launch site for numerous ministries under the banner of the New Evangelization the late Pope's call for reaching formerly Christian societies with the Gospel.
These include initiatives such as the college campus ministry program FOCUS, the Catholic graduate school the Augustine Institute, and the women's educational organization ENDOW.
It's been very exciting to see what's happened in terms of the New Evangelization, the archbishop-designate noted. I want to continue all of the work that has been done by both my predecessors.
One area of ministry close to his heart is priestly formation, he said, observing that the Denver archdiocese is blessed to have such thriving seminaries.
I plan on working closely with the priests of the diocese, and with the permanent deacons, and really focusing in on their spiritual life and to continue to build the fraternal relationship among the priests.
I am thoroughly convinced that the deeper the intimacy that priests have with the Father, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit -- in living in the communion of love -- the more will they return that love and serve their people better, he said.
Another mission within the Church that's deeply important to him is pro-life advocacy an area he is known for in the Fargo diocese.
For the new archbishop, any questions surrounding the issues of abortion, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide all get back to the basic dignity of the human person.
Every human being, each one of us, began at the moment of conception, he underscored. There is no human being that has not begun at the moment of conception.
With that in mind, he said he's been unequivocally supportive of efforts such as the international 40 Days for Life campaign, a peaceful protest initiative that seeks to put an end to abortion.
It's a great way to give witness to life, it's a great way to demonstrate prayer, it's peaceful, he said. And then there's always the tremendous joy when you know you've saved an unborn child.
Also high on the priority list for Archbishop-designate Aquila is the local young adult Catholic community, which is among the largest in the U.S.
I want them to know I love them, he stated. I look forward to working with them, to serving them, to bringing Christ to them.
Archbishop-designate Aquila said he is also passionate about meeting and connecting with Northern Colorado's Latino population, who make up over 50 percent of the area's Catholics.
I've always had a love for the Hispanic community, he said.
I want to certainly continue to support them, to enable them in their faith and their culture, in their family life to continue to strengthen that in Christ and also in their devotional practices.
Those within the Catholic Latino population face different challenges within the society in which we live, he observed.
Among the challenges that he hopes tackle are helping Latino Catholics continue to integrate into the United States and bring the tremendous gifts that they offer, especially in the area of family life and their faith.
I certainly need to brush up on my Spanish, he said with a smile.
Archbishop-designate Aquila will be installed as head of the archdiocese on July 18 at Denvers Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Dear Father Jenkins,
I was surprised and saddened when I learned about the invitation extended to President Obama to speak at Notre Dames commencement exercises and to receive an honorary degree. Your statements in defense of the award and invitation have only deepened my dismay.
We know by science and reason that human life begins at the moment of conception. That includes your life, President Obamas life, my life and every human beings life. Faith enhances reason and science by revealing to us that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and has inherent dignity and value.
The teaching of the Catholic Church on the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death is fundamental to our Catholic identity. I know you are a man of integrity and believe in the Churchs witness. I also know as a priest and a president of a Catholic University, you are well acquainted with Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the 2004 statement of the Bishops of the United States on Catholics in Political Life.
Even though President Obama is not Catholic, he clearly rejects the truth about human dignity through his constant support of a so called right to abortion. He also tolerates the inexcusable act of letting aborted children die who are born alive. He promotes an intrinsic evil which must always be resisted by a just and civil society.
Inviting President Obama to award him a degree and to speak at a Catholic University implicitly extends legitimacy to his views on these issues in the minds of the average onlooker. Your actions and that of the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame do real harm to the mission of Catholic education in this country and further splinters Catholic witness in the public square.
Your actions provide a forum for an advocate of abortion, in a university which is committed to teaching the truths known to reason and science, and most of all to our faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church. This places commitment to these truths on an equal plane with a commitment to an intrinsic evil which destroys innocent human life. Your judgment in this matter is seriously flawed, with damaging consequences, for you are not on the side of God, but of men (Mt 16:23).
I know that many wonderful Catholic students, faculty and administrators at Notre Dame support the clear teaching of Jesus Christ and His Church. Unfortunately, your action and that of your Board diminishes the reputation of Notre Dame and makes one wonder what its mission truly is. I pray that you will see the gravity of Notre Dames error in this matter and most especially how it undermines the Gospel of Life, who is Christ Himself.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila
Bishop of Fargo
Good morning and thank you all for coming with such a brief notice!
Eleven years ago this week on the Feast of the Visitation, May 31, Archbishop Charles Chaput called me to his home and told me that Pope John Paul II had named me as Coadjutor Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota. To describe that moment as a surprise would be an understatement. I learned obedience from that experience. I learned what it means as a priest and bishop to belong totally to Jesus Christ and the Churchto have faith and confidence in the Lord through the voice of Peter. Theres nothing more unsettling than to leave everything youve known and loved for 25 years, and to move to a new place.
But it was a gift. In my ministry as Bishop of Fargo these past 11 years I became friends with many of North Dakotas wonderful clergy and laity. I will miss them with all my heart. I was blessed to serve in a place where both the Christian faith and family life are strong. It is the most pro-life environmentand I mean pro-life in every sensethat I have experienced. I will never forget it. I fell in love with the beauty of the Dakota plains, the many thousands of wonderful people thereand through my service to the Church, I came to understand why Our Lord loves the uniqueness and the dignity of each human life as passionately as he does. I am deeply grateful to the clergy and the laypeople of Fargo who taught me how to be a bishop by sharing their lives and their faith, and surrounding me with their generosity and good will. They will always be in my memories and in my prayers.
This past week I received a phone call from the Apostolic Nuncio informing me that Pope Benedict XVI had appointed me Archbishop of Denver. Another surprise, yet one of a different sort, as it meant returning to the place that I had called home for most of my life and the archdiocese for which I was ordained a priest in 1976a place where I have known the lay of the land, the clergy and faithful, along with many friends. The Fathers providential love filled me with peace and joy as I was called by him to serve as shepherd for the Church that gave birth to my vocation as a priest.
When I left Denver I never imagined for a moment that I would one day return as archbishop, to be a spiritual father to the clergy and laity here. I realize that much has changed in Denver over the past 11 years and that there will be much to learn about this vibrant Church. The presbyterate here has grown strong under the leadership of Archbishop Chaput, and I look forward to renewing friendships with the clergy I know and getting to know the new priests and permanent deacons ordained since 2001. I look forward to renewing friendships with the staff that I had known when I left and getting to know the new people who now serve the Church here. I look forward to connecting anew with the laity and getting to know the faithful as I visit the parishes of the archdiocese.
I want to extend my deep gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI in trusting me and calling me to this new ministry. I thank too the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Viganó, for his kindness to me in this transition. I thank Bishop James Conley, whom Ive known since 1989 when we were in graduate studies together in Rome, for his warm welcome and kind assistance to me since the announcement. Im grateful to Msgr. Tom Fryar for his excellent service to Archbishop Chaput as moderator of the curia and his great support for Bishop Conley. I thank too Msgr. Bernie Schmitz, whos done extraordinary work as vicar for clergy. I have known both of these brothers since my seminary days and look forward to ministering with them as their archbishop. I thank too my two predecessors, Cardinal J. Francis Stafford and Archbishop Chaput, who are both friends, brothers and mentors to me. And I must recognize too Archbishop James V. Casey who ordained me a priest.
As we move forward I entrust this new beginning to Our Lady of Guadalupe, who has always covered me with her mantle of love and protection. My motto is Marys last spoken words in the Gospel of John, Do whatever He tells you. My deepest longing for any person and certainly for the faithful of the Church of Denver and for those who do not yet know Christ, is that they come to know Jesus Christ, and enter into intimacy with him. He is the way, the truth and the life. Know that I will love you with the heart of Christ as your bishop, teacher, shepherd, brother and friend on the pilgrimage we all share as Christians. I ask your prayers for me in the weeks and months ahead and may you be assured of my prayers for you!
+Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop-designate, Archdiocese of Denver
Archbishop-designate Aquila has been a trusted friend for many years. He's a leader of energy, intelligence and fidelity to the Church; a man of kindness, humor, many warm lay friendships and great fraternal love for his priests. His appointment is a coming home for one of Colorado's finest sons. He was formed and ordained for the Archdiocese of Denver, so he knows Colorado very well. He experienced World Youth Day 1993 firsthand as a young priest. Those extraordinary days of grace with John Paul II have shaped his entire priestly ministry. Hell strengthen and build on the great work begun by his predecessor, Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, and the people of Colorado will very quickly find him a leader of character, clarity and good will. This is a great moment for the Catholic Church in Colorado.
+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Today, we celebrate the long-awaited news of the appointment of the next archbishop of Denver. Because the new archbishop is an old friend to so many of us, we are especially joyful today.
In Rome today, at noon (4 a.m. Colorado time), Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Samuel Joseph Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, as the next archbishop of Denver. Archbishopdesignate Aquila will be the eighth bishop of Denver, and its fifth archbishop. He will carry on a legacy of courageous and holy leadershipbegun with the ministry of Bishop Joseph Machebuef in 1887.
Archbishop Aquila was born on September 24, 1950, in Burbank, California. He was ordained to the priesthood in Denver, Colorado, on June 5, 1976, and served in parish ministry for 11 years. In 1990, he earned a Licentiate in Sacramental Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum San Anselmo in Rome.
As a priest of Denver, Archbishop Aquila served in a variety of leadership positions within the archdiocese. Most notably he served as the first rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary from 1999-2001.
In 2001, he was named coadjutor bishop of Fargo, North Dakota, and in 2002 he became the bishop of Fargo. Since that time he has become nationally known for his moral leadership in the Church and for his firm commitment to the Gospel of Life and the New Evangelization.
I first met Archbishop Aquila 23 years ago in 1989. We were both young priests and graduate students living at the Casa Santa Maria, the North American College graduate house for American priests studying in Rome.
Father Aquila quickly became a friend. I admired his keen intelligence, his decisiveness and his humor. Most especially I admired his pastoral kindness, his warmth, and the charity with which he communicated Jesus Christ. Last October, we traveled on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, leading Catholics together in the footsteps of Our Lord, praying together and celebrating the Eucharist together. It was a blessed time of fraternal ministry.
Among friends, Archbishop Aquila is a gentle and compassionate manand Archbishop Aquila is always among friends. I have long admired him as a man with a heart for Jesus Christ, a man who leads with the loving kindness of God the Father. His episcopal motto: Do whatever He tells you, speaks to his commitment as a disciple of Jesus Christ and devoted son of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Archbishop Aquila will spend today visiting the people of the Archdiocese of Denver. He will celebrate holy Mass at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and will host a reception at St. John Vianney Seminary refectory at 7 p.m. Both of these events are open to the public. He will then return to Fargo until shortly before he is installed as archbishop of Denver at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, July 18 at 2 p.m.
As we continue to celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost, the providence of God and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit have brought Archbishop Aquila home to Denver. Let us thank God for his return. Please join me in welcoming him and in praying for him.
+James D. Conley
Apostolic Administrator, Archdiocese of Denver