Bishop James D.Conley, Defender of the Faith, Appointed the Ninth Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska
Bishop Conley will be installed as the Bishop of Lincoln on November 20, 2012 in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ
Bishop Conley's appointment to succeed the heroic defender of Catholic orthodoxy, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, came as no surprise to me. Bishop Conley is a true son of the Catholic Church who understands the great gift of the teaching Magisterium. He is unabashedly and uncompromisingly Catholic to the core. However, he is also profoundly joyful in his faith.
DENVER, CO (Catholic Online) - On Friday, September 14, 2012, it was made official. It had been rumored for months. Bishop James Conley, one of the finest Bishops in the Catholic Church in the United States, was named to succeed Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, providing pastoral care to the faithful of Lincoln, Nebraska as their ninth Bishop.
Bishop Conley is only 57 years old.
I met Bishop Conley several years ago when I spoke at the Diocesan Conference in Denver. However, I had followed his heroic defense of unborn children - and admired his courageous support of those who stood on the front line of the Pro-Life effort - for many years.
I was well aware of his, what I like to call "dynamically orthodox", Catholic Christian faith through the testimonies of people whose lives he had touched with his infectious love for the Lord and His Church. They were always so eager to share their experiences. That should be the hallmark of a Bishop.
Bishop Conley was raised in a Presbyterian family in Wichita. He hungered for the fullness of truth and entered into the full communion of the Catholic Church when he was a junior at the University of Kansas. It is an interesting fact of contemporary Catholic life that so many Christians from other communities are not only entering the Church but becoming a much needed resource for its genuine renewal.
One has only to look on the bookshelves in Catholic and other Christian bookstores, or check the CD and DVD rack in the back of so many parishes, to see what I mean. "Converts" and "Reverts" (former or fallen away Catholics who return home) have become one of the greatest resources of the new Evangelization in the Church.
They have encountered the Risen Lord and want to live in His Body the Church. They deeply appreciate and understand the gift of the fullness of the Catholic Faith and want to both know the teaching of the Church and live it fully. They are what I call "Catholic by Choice".
The Bishop entered the seminary four years after he graduated from College and was ordained for the Diocese of Wichita in 1985. He is one of the many treasures of the Church who were trained at Mount St Mary's in Emmitsburg.
He has a deep knowledge of - and devotion to - Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, another noteworthy convert to the Catholic Church. His Episcopal motto is "cor ad cor loquitur," which means "heart speaks to heart". That was John Henry Cardinal Newman's motto as well.
As a priest, Fr. Conley served fruitfully as a College Chaplain and for ten years as an official in the Vatican Congregation for Bishops in Rome. His Episcopal service to the Church began in 2008 when he was ordained a auxiliary in the Archdiocese of Denver under Archbishop Charles Chaput.
It was during that time I had the privilege of meeting Bishop Conley. What was immediately evident in the encounter was his deep, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a man of great personal warmth. Immediately upon meeting him you feel welcomed and cared for.
He also has a gift of joy which catches you in its hopeful grasp and shakes any cynicism out of your weary bones. Let's face it, these are trying times and the struggle can wear on you. When you encounter this Bishop, you just want to be in his presence. The experience reminded me of how people must have experienced Jesus when they encountered him. That should have come as no surprise I guess. This is a truly holy man.
Bishop Conley's appointment to succeed the heroic defender of Catholic orthodoxy, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, came as no surprise to me. Bishop Conley is a true son of the Catholic Church who understands the great gift of the teaching Magisterium. He is unabashedly and uncompromisingly Catholic to the core.
However, like so many of the appointments being made by His Holiness Benedict XVI, Bishop Conley also possesses dynamic living faith which is so vitally important in the times in which we live. He is, in the best sense of the phrase, an "evangelical" Catholic. In that regard, he reminds me of another great, the president of the Bishops conference, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Bishop Conley will be installed as the Bishop of Lincoln on November 20, 2012 in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ. We ask our readers throughout the world to pray for the bishop and the faithful of the Diocese. We also thank God that he continues to send such great Bishops to the Catholic Church in the United States at this historic moment. We need many more.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Bishop James Conley, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, Archdiocese of Denver, Diocese of Lincoln, John henry cardinal Newman, orthodoxy, living faith, Deacon Keith Fournier
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