Colombian Named Atlanta Auxiliary

ATLANTA, Georgia, JULY 27, 2009 ( Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Luis Rafael Zarama, 50, currently vicar general of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, as auxiliary bishop in that city.

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The appointment was announced today in Washington, D.C., by the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta expressed his gratitude to the Pope for this appointment «which so favorably responds to the growing pastoral needs of our burgeoning local Church.»

The Catholic population in the archdiocese has significantly multiplied in recent years, growing from some 160,000 members in 1990 to some 760,000 at present.

The prelate continued, «The Holy Father’s selection of Monsignor Zarama from among our own generous and zealous priests is an affirmation not only of the gifts of this very fine priest, but of the quality of all of the priests who serve us.»

He «heartily» congratulated Bishop-elect Zarama, adding, «I look forward to working with him in the episcopal service of the needs of all of our people.»

Luis Zarama was born in Pasto, Colombia, and moved to Atlanta shortly before being ordained a priest in 1993.

Aside from his position as vicar general, he has also been serving as the assistant director of vocations and a member of the committee for continuing education of priests.

The Episcopal ordination will be held on Sep. 29.

The Atlanta Archdiocese has some 279 priests, as well as 202 permanent deacons and 189 religious.

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