University President Named to Trenton Diocese

Father David O’Connell Stresses Service in Priesthood

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TRENTON, New Jersey, JUNE 4, 2010 ( Benedict XVI appointed Vincentian Father David O’Connell, president of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. as coadjutor for the Diocese of Trenton.

Bishop-elect O’Connell, 55, will serve under Bishop John Smith, who will reach the age of retirement on June 23.

In a press conference today, Bishop-elect O’Connell responded to the news of his appointment with gratitude for the Pope’s decision.

He noted that he met with the Pontiff «numerous times over the years, most recently in March of this year, and I feel a deep bond of respect, affection and loyalty to him.»

The bishop-elect affirmed that he is enthusiastic to go to Trenton, which is close to Langhorne, Pennsylvania, where he grew up.

He explained that he chose as his episcopal motto «a phrase from St. Mark’s Gospel (10:45), ‘ministrare non ministrari,’ words from Jesus’ own lips when he said ‘I have come to serve and not to be served, to give my life as ransom for the many.'»

«They struck me profoundly as a good theme for a priest’s life, especially a Vincentian priest,» of the Congregation of the Mission, Bishop-elect O’Connell said.

He expressed his desire to «become a source of light and life in the Church among all men and women,» citing the words of Benedict XVI in his recent meeting with the bishops in Portugal.

The bishop-elect affirmed: «All of us know that this year and the years before it have contained some dark and difficult moments for bishops and priests. All of us know that some of us have stumbled in the darkness at times.

«We can never forget nor apologize enough for the harm done to those who have suffered so much because of our failures and sins.

«But darkness always gives way to light, night always gives way to morning, clouds and fog always give way to the brightness of a new day. Jesus Christ must always be for us that bright light, that new day, that hope for tomorrow.»

Born in Philadelphia, David O’Connell was ordained a priest in 1982. He will ordained a bishop on August 6.

Bishop-elect O’Connell has been serving as president of the Catholic University of America since 1998, and last October 2 he announced his plan to resign from that position this August. He has also been serving as a consultor for the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education since 2005.

The Trenton Diocese has some 822,000 Catholics, with 314 priests, 320 permanent deacons and 510 religious.

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