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Consecration of two new auxiliary bishops brings in dignitaries from around the world

July 22, 2015 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of the Diocese of Washington, lays hands on new Auxiliary Bishop James Massa. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of the Diocese of New York (at left) was also one of the co-consecrators. Eagle photos by Francesca N. Tate

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn now has five auxiliary bishops to serve its wide and diverse geographical area. This week, dozens of church dignitaries from the Roman Catholic and Eastern Rites came to the Borough of Churches to co-consecrate the Most Rev. James Massa, 54, and the Most Rev. Witold Mroziewski, 49, as auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The two new bishops join Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto, vicar general; Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros, vicar for Hispanic Concerns and pastor of Holy Child Jesus, Richmond Hill; Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Forest Hills; and retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq, pastor emeritus of St. Gregory the Great, Crown Heights. The five assist Diocesan Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in serving the nearly 1.5 million multi-cultural Catholics who reside in Brooklyn and Queens.

Bishop DiMarzio told the Brooklyn Eagle during a press conference immediately before the ordination Mass that the auxiliary bishops help him with parish visitations, conferring the sacrament of Confirmation. Auxiliary bishops are also pastors to the priests and to the people of the diocese.

Chapetto and Sanchez were consecrated as bishops three years ago at Our Lady of Angels Church in Bay Ridge. The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph was still undergoing renovation at that point.

“Each of our two new auxiliary bishops bring special gifts to the office to which they have been called,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “Bishop Massa has spent most of his priestly life in the teaching ministry, while Bishop Witold Mroziewski also has given many years of his relatively young life to the service of the Diocese of Brooklyn, giving special attention to the Polish-speaking people of Brooklyn and Queens.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., read aloud the Bull — the sacred papal document — that announced Massa and Mroziewski as new auxiliary bishops. It was signed on May 19, 2015. As the Bull was read, the bishops and congregation gave an extended standing ovation.

Archbishop Viganò was among the co-consecrating bishops, who also included His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York; His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop-emeritus of Washington, D.C.; His Excellency Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and permanent observer of the Holy See Mission to the United Nations; His Excellency Charles Chaput, archbishop of Philadelphia; the Most Rev. William Murphy, bishop of Rockville Centre; and the Most Rev. Raymond Chappetto, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn and vicar general for the diocese.

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Joining them were more than 28 archbishops and bishops from across the U.S. and the world, including Bishop Artur Mizinski, secretary general of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, and Archbishop-Emeritus Juliusz Paetz of the Archdiocese of Poznan; Eparch Emeritus Basil Losten of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford, Connecticut; and Bishop Kurt Burnette, of the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic, N.J. (an Eastern Rite Catholic branch).

A significant delegation of the NYPD, including Deputy Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, as well as chaplains from the NYPD and FDNY, were present.

During the Prayer of Ordination, the deacons of the diocese, whose primary ministry is to proclaim the Gospel at Mass and in their service to the world, held the Gospel Book above the heads of the bishops-elected. A spokesperson for the diocese explained, “This is a symbol that the bishop’s authority is crowned by the Gospel. Therefore, he is always to be obedient to the Gospel and the teachings of the faith which flow from it.”

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