Pope appoints Boston vicar general as auxiliary bishop of archdiocese
By Catholic News Service
(Photo courtesy of Archdiocese of Boston)
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Msgr. Robert Deeley, vicar general of the Boston Archdiocese since 2011, to be an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese.
The appointment was announced Nov. 9 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
A Massachusetts native, Bishop-designate Deeley, 66, served at the Vatican as an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2004 to 2010.
Since his ordination as a priest of the Boston Archdiocese in 1973, he has served in a number of capacities, including as parochial vicar, pastor, secretary of metropolitan tribunal, judicial vicar and head of a deanery. He also is a former president of the Canon Law Society of America.
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston will ordain the newly named bishop to the episcopacy Jan. 4 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.
He held a news conference at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Braintree, Mass., to discuss the appointment of the new auxiliary.
Throughout his priesthood, Bishop-designate Deeley "has served with a deep and abiding commitment to Christ and the church," the cardinal said in a statement. In every post he has held, "he has contributed greatly to the life of the church, always focused on bringing people closer to God."
Cardinal O'Malley said as an auxiliary, Bishop-designate Deeley will continue to serve as vicar general and moderator of the curia.
"I am humbled by the Holy Father's confidence in me by appointing me to the episcopacy," Bishop-designate Deeley said in a statement. Cardinal O'Malley "provided me the great opportunity last year to return home to Boston and be of service to the archdiocese," he said, referring to coming back after serving at the Vatican.
"I pray that God grants me wisdom to continue to do the work he has blessed me with in nearly 40 years of being a priest," he added. "Throughout, I have been inspired by the love and support of my family and the joy of bringing the sacraments to our people."
Born in Cambridge, Mass., Robert P. Deeley grew up in Belmont, Mass., the fourth in a family of five sons. His late parents, Michael and Mary, were born in County Galway, Ireland. The family belonged to Sacred Heart Parish in Watertown, Mass., where he and his brothers attended school. Robert graduated from Matignon High School in North Cambridge in 1964.
He entered Cardinal O'Connell Minor Seminary in Boston to discern a vocation to priesthood. After two years of college he received a Theodore Basselin Foundation scholarship and began philosophy studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, where he graduated in 1968.
After a year of post-graduate studies, he was sent to the Pontifical North American College in Rome for his theological formation. At the Pontifical Gregorian University, also in Rome, he earned a degree in theology in 1972.
After a year of continuing studies in theology, he returned to Boston and was ordained to the priesthood July 14, 1973 at Sacred Heart Church in Watertown, and his first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Bartholomew Parish in Needham, Mass.
In 1978, with his appointment as secretary to the archdiocesan metropolitan tribunal, he began a ministry which would last for more than 20 years in that office; from 1989-1999 he was judicial vicar.
Throughout that period, apart from his years of graduate study in Rome in canon law, he lived in parishes where he served as assistant priest in residence. He earned a doctorate in canon law in 1983 and a doctorate in civil law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1986.
He was named a monsignor in 1995, became pastor of St. Ann's Parish in the Wollaston section of Quincy, Mass., in 1999 and assumed the presidency of the Canon Law Society of America in 2000.
In September 2004, then-Msgr. Deeley was sent to Rome to assist the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, first on a temporary basis and then, at the request of the prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), serve as a congregation official.
He served there until being appointed vicar general and moderator of the curia in the summer of 2011.
As a bishop, he joins Auxiliary Bishops John A. Dooher, Walter J. Edyvean, Robert F. Hennessey, Arthur L. Kennedy and Peter J. Uglietto, and retired Auxiliary Bishops Emilio S. Allue, John P. Boles and Francis X. Irwin.
Currently serving the needs of 1.8 million Catholics, the Boston Archdiocese has 288 parishes serving 144 communities; educates approximately 42,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes; and ministers to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach.
Each week, Mass is celebrated in nearly 20 different languages.