Corpus Christi Welcomes Pope-Ordained Bishop

Belgian Cardinal Danneels Retires

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, JAN. 18, 2010 ( Benedict XVI named Monsignor William Michael Mulvey, administrator of the Diocese of Austin, Texas, as the bishop of the Corpus Christi Diocese.

Bishop-elect Mulvey, 60, will succeed Bishop Edmond Carmody, 76, who retired due to reasons of age.

William Mulvey was born in Houston, Texas, as the second of six children. He was ordained a priest by Pope Paul VI in 1975 in St. Peter’s Square.

As a priest, he served as director of the Center for Spirituality for Diocesan Priests of the Focolare Movement in Italy and in New York.

In a press conference this morning, the bishop-elect described the moment he received the news about his appointment from Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

«The nuncio’s call was a shock and caused time to stand still,» he said. «For a moment I asked the questions: ‘Did he make a mistake? Did he have the right telephone number?'»

Bishop-elect Mulvey continued: «The morning after the archbishop’s call, after a ‘less than refreshing’ one hour of sleep, I found myself at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Austin. […]

«During the Mass, I not only entrusted myself to our mother, but also the Diocese of Corpus Christi.»

In response to his appointment, the bishop-elect pledged to the Holy Father his «loyal communion, fraternal love and respect as a bishop of the Church.»

He told the priests of his diocese: «I hope to spend time with you to know each of you personally. No person can work in isolation and much less a bishop. Your collaboration will be essential to me in announcing God’s Love and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.»

Bishop-elect Mulvey directed a greeting to the youth of the diocese: «You are essential to the vitality of the Church and I look forward to sitting down with you and your pastors to reinforce our commitment to you and your faith.»

To the seminarians, he said, «Your vocation is a gift; a special glance of the Lord; I want to help you to respond generously to his love for you.»

The Corpus Christi Diocese has some 395,000 Catholics served by 157 priests, 62 permanent deacons and 195 religious.


Also today, Benedict XVI appointed Bishop André-Mutien Léonard, 69, of Namur, Belgium, as archbishop of the Mechelen-Brussel Archdiocese.

The archbishop is replacing Cardinal Godfried Danneels, 76, who is retiring for reasons of age.

Upon hearing of his appointment, Archbishop Léonard says that it «gives me a touch of youth.» He expressed the desire to continue being an accessible pastor even as an archbishop.

Born in Jambes, Belgium, he was ordained a priest in 1964 and a bishop in 1991.

The prelate has been serving as a member of the International Theological Commission.

The Mechelen-Brussels Archdiocese has 1.6 million Catholics served by 1,888 priests, 89 permanent deacons and 3,813 religious.

Eastern Churches

A Vatican communiqué reported today that the Syro-Malabar Church has also made various appointments, with the prior assent of Benedict XVI.

The Syro-Malabar Synod of Bishops gathered Jan. 10 near Ernakulam, India, in a meeting that lasted through Friday.

They appointed Monsignor Pauly Kannookadan, 48, secretary of the liturgical commission of the Syro-Malabar Church and of the commission for the clergy and for institutes of consecrated life, as bishop of the Diocese of Irinjalakuda, India.

He succeeds Bishop James Pazhayattil, 75, who resigned for reasons of age.

This diocese includes some 258,000 Catholics served by 234 priests and 2,490 religious.

Monsignor Remigiose Inchananiyil, 48, secretary and chancellor of the Thamarasserry Diocese and judge of the major archiepiscopal tribunal, was named bishop of his diocese.

He will replace Bishop Paul Chittilapilly, 75, who is retiring.

The synod erected two new eparchies, Ramanathapuram and Mandya, India, naming Monsignor Paul Alappatt, rector of the St. Mary major seminary and judge of the major archiepiscopal tribunal, head of the first, and Monsignor George Njaralakatt, vicar general of the Eparchy of Bhadravathi, India, as bishop of the second.

Monsignor Raphel Thattil, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Trichur, India, was appointed auxiliary bishop of that same city.

The synod named Monsignor Bosco Puthur, rector of the seminary of Mangalapuzha, India, as bishop of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Curia.

The Catholic Church of India includes the Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankar rites. The Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankar Churches date back to the Apostle Thomas.

The Holy See gave the Synod of Syro-Malabar Bishops the capacity to select bishops and establish and suppress eparchies, or dioceses, in its territory.

The synod is able to make a list of candidate bishops, conduct necessary inquiries from bishops, priests, and responsible members of the laity, select the candidates by majority vote, and submit the names to the Pope for approval.

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