PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Most Rev. Robert Deeley, auxiliary bishop of Boston, was named by Pope Francis to lead the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, the Vatican announced Wednesday.
Deeley, 67, was introduced at a morning news conference by Bishop Richard Malone, the current apostolic administrator of the diocese who was appointed bishop of the Buffalo, N.Y., diocese.
Deeley compared his joining the diocese to climbing onto a moving train, on which he must build upon the efforts of others who have been serving the community for 160 years.
“I can only move things forward if I find out where things are, and then learn where we might go,” he said, according to prepared remarks. “It will be my task to move through the train observing, listening and sharing ideas with those who are doing the work of God in this beautiful state.”
Deeley was ordained as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston in January. Prior to that he served as vicar general and moderator of the curia in the archdiocese, a post he held since September 2011.
Deeley’s installation has been scheduled for Feb. 14 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.
A Massachusetts native, Deeley was born in Cambridge and raised in Belmont, one of five sons of Irish immigrants.
He studied at the Catholic University of America in Washington and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1973 at Sacred Heart Parish in Watertown, Mass.
“The Archdiocese of Boston will greatly miss Bishop Deeley’s leadership that follows from a deep love for the Church,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the head of the archdiocese, said in a statement. “In particular, guidance of Disciples in Mission, the Archdiocese’s pastoral planning initiative, has helped us to begin the process of planning for the future.”
Deely said he comes to Maine with no set plan or program for how to lead the diocese, which covers the state of Maine, including nearly 188,000 Catholics. Deeley will be its 12th bishop.
“I come only as your new shepherd, and, as Pope Francis is fond of telling bishops, I will have to get to know the smell of the sheep before I can serve you as well as the Lord calls me to,” he said.
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