Cardinal Blase J. Cupich to Ordain Three Auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese of Chicago on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020 at Holy Name Cathedral
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Chicago - (Nov. 12, 2020) – Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, will ordain three auxiliary bishops – Kevin M. Birmingham, Jeffrey S. Grob and Robert J. Lombardo, CFR, at 2 p.m. on the feast of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, Nov. 13, 2020 at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State St., Chicago. Cardinal Cupich will serve as principal consecrator and main celebrant. Co-consecrators of the Mass will be Most Reverend John R. Manz and Most Reverend Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, will present the mandates from the Holy See at the Ordination Mass. Due to local and state COVID-19 seating capacity restrictions, this year’s ceremony will have limited attendance by invitation only. The Episcopal Ordination will be livestreamed on the archdiocesan YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/M_SEfF4RTQE.
“Our new bishops are devout men of deep faith, who are known for their profound love and commitment to our Church and the communities they have served in their various ministries,” said Cardinal Cupich. “While they will begin their new ministry during very difficult times, and in the face of considerable challenges, they do so with joyful hearts that inspire hope in us all. We pray that they may continue to rely on Christ’s merciful love as they respond to society’s needs for healing and rebuilding.”
An auxiliary bishop is a bishop assigned by the Holy See to assist the resident bishop or archbishop in the pastoral care and administration of a diocese. Auxiliary bishops also help the archbishop administer the sacraments, especially confirmation, and often represent him at various celebrations. For the time being, Bishop-elect Birmingham will remain in his current position as director of the Archdiocese’s Department of Parish Vitality and Mission. Bishop-elect Grob will serve as the episcopal vicar of Vicariate I and Bishop-elect Lombardo will serve as episcopal vicar of Vicariate III.
“With gratitude to God, I look forward to this new responsibility within the Archdiocese of Chicago,” said Bishop-elect Birmingham. “In becoming a bishop, I pray that my relationship with God as a disciple will continue to be strengthened, even amid the many challenges and obstacles we often encounter. It is with this longing, that I look forward to continual conversations with the People of God to assist in finding creative ways to make God’s presence known in this local church.”
“The principle duties of a bishop, namely, to teach, to govern, and to sanctify, form the framework around which I intend, with God’s help to live out my days,” said Bishop-elect Grob. “We are on a common path which began in baptism. The journey is unique to each of us, yet shared with everyone who tries to follow the Lord Jesus. Undoubtedly, my ministry will change but I am determined to remember that I was first a deacon and then a priest. I pray that I will base my episcopal ministry on what I learned then and carry with me the wisdom of the lives I have encountered along the way.”
"I am humbled by the appointment of Pope Francis and ask for remembrance in prayer as I begin to take on the responsibilities of an auxiliary bishop here in the Archdiocese of Chicago,” said Bishop-elect Lombardo. “My hope is to let the people I am called to serve know by my words and example that they are loved by God. Working with Cardinal Cupich, and all in the Archdiocese, I would like to encourage all of us to live in unity, peace, and mutual respect, while being mindful of the most needy in our midst.”
The rite of ordination follows the reading of the Gospel and the singing of the “Veni, Creator Spiritus,” a ninth century hymn, attributed to Rabanus Maurus, invoking the Holy Spirit during special liturgical celebrations. Archbishop Pierre will read the Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis which authenticates the discernment process of the Church and the Holy Father’s choice of these three priests for ordination to the episcopate.
After the homily, the principal consecrator asks bishops-elect important questions to ascertain if the candidates are prepared to assume their sacred duties. Following the examination of each new bishop and his readiness for ordination, and after the bishops-elect express fidelity to the Church, the candidates prostrate themselves (lie face down) on the floor, while the congregation kneels and chants a litany of saints, seeking their intercession for the candidates. All the bishops present then silently lay their hands upon the heads of each new bishop, the most important rite of ordination. This ancient gesture expresses the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The imposition of hands leads to the solemn prayer of consecration made by the cardinal and the bishops. During this time, the book of the Gospels is placed over the heads of Bishops-elect Birmingham, Grob and Lombardo, while they kneel.
Cardinal Cupich then anoints the head of each new bishop with the Sacred Chrism (oil) and presents each with ministerial symbols; a book of the Gospels, which represents their ministries of preaching and teaching; a bishop’s ring, which represents their fidelity and bond to the church; the miter, a liturgical headdress customary for bishops; and a crosier, also known as a pastoral staff, that reflects the role of a bishop who gathers and shepherds the people of God.
Finally, the kiss of peace is extended by the assembled bishops to Bishops Birmingham, Grob and Lombardo, as a sign of welcome into the episcopacy. Due to COVID-19, this traditional gesture will be replaced with a nod.
Background on the new bishops:
Bishop-elect Kevin M. Birmingham, appointed titular bishop of Dolia, was born in Oak Lawn, Ill., on October 7, 1971, to Jeanette (Larsen) and the late Joseph Birmingham. He was raised in Our Lady of the Ridge Parish in Chicago Ridge, where he attended public grammar school. He graduated from Quigley South High School and spent two years at Loyola University Chicago before transferring to Niles College Seminary, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy with minors in computer science and mathematics in 1993. He graduated from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill. in 1997 with a master of divinity degree.
Bishop-elect Birmingham was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago by Cardinal Francis George on May 24, 1997. He served as associate pastor of St. Benedict Parish in Blue Island, Ill., and St. Peter Claver Mission in Robbins, Ill., from 1997 to 2001 and of St. Francis of Assisi in Orland Park, Ill., from 2001 to 2005. He was pastor of St. Anne Parish in Hazel Crest, Ill., from 2005 to 2011 and of Maternity BVM Parish in Chicago from 2011 to 2014. He has served the archdiocese as a member of the Presbyteral Council and Priests’ Placement Board and as dean of Deanery III-A. He was administrative secretary to Cardinal Cupich from November 2014 to June 2020, when he assumed directorship of the Archdiocese’s Department of Parish Vitality and Mission. Bishop-elect Birmingham is fluent in Spanish and celebrates Spanish Masses at St. John Berchmans Parish in Chicago.
Bishop-elect Jeffrey S. Grob, appointed titular bishop of Abora, was born on March 19, 1961, in Madison, Wis., to Bonnie (Meinholz) and the late Gerald J. Grob. He grew up on a dairy farm near Cross Plains, Wis. He attended St. Francis Xavier Grade School in Cross Plains and Holy Name High School Seminary in Madison. Bishop-elect Grob attended St. Meinrad College in St. Meinrad, Ind., and graduated from the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies. He spent a year at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. before earning a master of divinity degree in 1992 from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., where he was also awarded a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1999. Bishop-elect Grob earned a Licentiate in Canon Law and a doctorate in Canon Law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario, in 2000 and 2007, respectively. He earned a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario, also in 2007.
Bishop-elect Grob was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin on May 23, 1992. He served in parishes as resident and assistant pastor at SS. Faith, Hope and Charity Parish, Winnetka, from 1992 to 1998, and as a weekend assistant at St. Basil Parish in Ottawa, Ontario, from 1998 to 2002. He was dean of Deanery IV-D from 2008 to 2009 and pastor of St. Celestine Parish in Elmwood Park from 2008 to 2013.
He has served the Archdiocese in many, often simultaneous positions, including assistant chancellor from 1994 to 1998, judge on the Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2013, judicial vicar from 2013 to 2015, chancellor from 2015 to 2017, archbishop’s delegate to the Independent Review Board from 2010 to the present, archbishop’s liaison to lay ecclesial movements and new communities from 2015 to the present, and judicial vicar and vicar for canonical affairs from 2017 to the present.
Bishop-elect Robert Lombardo, CFR., named titular bishop of Munaziana, was born on September 4,1957, in Stamford, Conn. to Emil and Christine (Rubino) Lombardo. He attended St. Maurice Grammar School and Stamford Catholic High School, both in Stamford. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., in 1979 and worked in public accountancy at Price Waterhouse from 1979 to 1980. He received a master of divinity degree from the Maryknoll School of Theology in Ossining, N.Y., in 1987, and a Master of Science degree in pastoral counseling from Iona College, New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1990.
Bishop-elect Lombardo began his formation as a Capuchin friar in 1980, when he entered St. Francis Friary in Garrison, N.Y. He professed his Capuchin first vows in 1981 at the Mary Immaculate Friary in Garrison and his Capuchin final vows in 1986 at Sacred Heart Church in Yonkers. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 12, 1990, by Cardinal John O’Connor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City, and is a founding member of his community, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR.)
As a young religious, Bishop-elect Lombardo did missionary work in Bolivia and Honduras with orphaned street children, organized youth programs on Manhattan's lower east side, and directed the Padre Pio Shelter for the Homeless in the Bronx. He held several positions in the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, including director of the St. Anthony Residence, director of the Lay Associate, local servant (guardian) of St. Crispin’s Friary, director of St. Anthony’s Free Medical/Dental Clinic and vicar general. He is fluent in Spanish.
Bishop-elect Lombardo came to Chicago in 2005 at the request of Cardinal George to establish a mission outreach to the poor on the city’s West Side. He is the founder and director of the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels and founder and superior of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago. The mission, located in West Humboldt Park operates food and clothing pantries, conducts afterschool, family and senior citizens’ programming and hosts retreats, Bible camps and religious education classes.
Bishop-elect Lombardo has served the Archdiocese as a member of the Human Dignity and Solidarity Office and Priest Advisory Board from 2006 to 2015, adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary from 2013 to 2015, member of the Institute on Religious Life board from 2010 to the present, dean of Vicariate III A from 2015 to the present and co-lead of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Initiative on Evangelization from 2016 to the present. He is involved in Chicago civic organizations, including his service as a board member of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless from 2008 to 2010 and as a current member of the YMCA of Metro Chicago board.