Larry Smith congratulates the newly-appointed bishop on his new ministry in Archdiocese of Denver
Denver, CO—After the Archdiocese of Denver announced Pope Francis’ appointment of local pastor Father Jorge Rodriguez as its auxiliary bishop, Larry Smith, CEO of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Denver, greeted the new bishop and offered prayers for his new ministry.
“Bishop-elect Rodriguez is a really holy, humble and dynamic man of faith,” Smith said. “I think he is a great blessing to the Archdiocese of Denver. Because he’s local and because of his Hispanic origins, he brings a unique set of skills to help further the vision of the archbishop.”
Smith added that he looks forward to strengthening ties with Hispanics in the community.
Currently the pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Thornton, Colo., Bishop-elect Rodriguez, 61, originally comes from Merida, Mexico. The archdiocese introduced Bishop-elect Rodriguez during a press conference Aug. 25. He will continue to serve at his parish until his episcopal ordination Nov. 4.
“(This) is a very humbling experience,” Bishop-elect Rodriguez said at the conference. “I am grateful to the Holy Father for his trust in me. I feel honored to be able live in this beautiful state and serve the Church here, and our brothers and sisters in the archdiocese.”
He continued that his wish is to inspire others and asked the community for their prayers.
“I beg you for your prayers,” he said. “I am feeling the need for prayers now and every day throughout this year that the Lord will allow me to serve in his name and everything in Jesus Christ be praised.”
The greatly-anticipated appointment of the bishop concludes a long process of selection undertaken by the Vatican. The process begins at the diocesan level and works its way through a series of consultations until it reaches Rome, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is a process strictly confidential and involves a number of people, the most influential being the apostolic nuncio (the pope’s representative), congregation for bishops and the pope.
In the Archdiocese of Denver, Bishop James Conley was the last bishop appointed by the pope. He moved from Denver in September 2012 after his appointment to the Diocese of Lincoln.
Bishop-elect Rodriguez has a long connection with the archdiocese. After serving as a professor and dean at the Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome until 1999, he was named associate pastor of St. Therese Parish in Aurora, Colo., by then-Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver. From 2007-2014, he served as vice rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. He was incardinated as a priest of the Archdiocese of Denver in 2008.
Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila said his appointment is a moment of great joy for the Church of northern Colorado.
“It is with great joy that I welcome him both as a friend and as a brother and now as a co-worker and an auxiliary bishop here,” the archbishop said. “We are blessed with one of our own priests. I have known him since 1999 when I was rector of (St. John Vianney) Seminary.”
He also said that the archdiocese is blessed with the bishop-elect’s Hispanic origins.
“It’s a tremendous grace and blessing for our Hispanic community and the fact that we are over 50 percent Hispanic now within the archdiocese,” he said.
Bishop-elect Rodriguez was born March 22, 1955, in Mexico. He was ordained Dec. 24, 1987. He has a licentiate in philosophy and a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, in addition to a diploma in Mariology from the Marianum in Rome. He speaks English, Spanish, and Italian.
Cheryl Talley, Director, Communications and Marketing
Catholic Charities of Denver