Pope Francis accepted the retirement of Bishop Frederick Campbell of Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, appointing Bishop Robert J. Brennan, auxiliary of Rockville Centre, to lead the diocese.
“I am already praying fervently for the Church of Columbus every day,” Bishop Brennan said in a statement on January 31. “I look forward to walking the journey with you as your pastor sharing the ‘Joy of the Gospel’ and the ‘Splendor of Truth.’”
Born in the Bronx, Brennan, 56, is a lifelong New Yorker. He is the oldest of five children, and was raised in Lindenhurst. Brennan studied at Saint John the Baptist Diocesan High School, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science from Saint John’s University in Queens.
After his priestly ordination in 1989 in Huntington, New York, Brennan served as a parish priest, bishop’s secretary, and vicar general for the Diocese of Rockville Centre before being made auxiliary bishop for the diocese in 2012. He is bilingual in English and Spanish, and frequently celebrates Mass in Spanish, including in the Nassau County Correctional Facility.
“I will always love Long Island and its people. I have been blessed to minister to the people of the Diocese of Rockville Centre for 30 years … but the Holy Father has asked me to serve as Bishop of Columbus and I look forward to getting to know the Diocese of Columbus and the people there,” Brennan said.
Bishop Brennan learned of his new appointment from the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre just before leaving for World Youth Day Panama in January.
In Panama, Brennan was struck by the “exuberance and great faith” he witnessed among the young pilgrims. “It was all about connection, encounter: encounter with pilgrims around the world, encounter with the Holy Father, and encounter with Jesus Christ Himself,” he said.
“Looking through the lens of the new call of the Lord for me, I was struck by the image: People of faith and hope, walking together encouraging one another with the ‘Joy of the Gospel,’ helping one another on the way, leading each other to the encounter with Jesus Christ. Isn’t that what we are all about?” Brennan said.
After serving the Diocese of Columbus for 14 years, Bishop Frederick Francis Campbell has retired from leadership at the customary age of 75. Before Columbus, Campbell served as an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from 1999 to 2004.
Bishop Campbell will continue to serve the Diocese of Columbus until Brennan’s installation March 29 in Columbus’ St. Joseph Cathedral.
The Diocese of Columbus is home to 278,528 Catholics and 105 parishes. The diocese was founded 150 years ago due to the growing Catholic population emigrating to Ohio from Europe. Today, Catholics make up about ten percent of the 2.4 million population of Columbus.
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