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Bishop » Bishop Bootkoski Remarks
My Dear Friends,
Thank you for coming out today to join me for this historic moment in our local Church, where it is my privilege to help to announce the appointment of the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen.
I thank members of the news media for your presence.
I welcome priests, deacons, clergy, religious and diocesan staff members along with representatives of our Catholic schools, Catholic Charities-Diocese of Metuchen, the Catholic Center at Rutgers University and St. Peter’s University Hospital who are here with us today.
With gratitude to our loving and merciful God and to Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, we welcome our new bishop, Reverend Monsignor James F. Checchio, who most recently served as rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
The appointment of Bishop-elect Checchio by Pope Francis was announced at the Vatican today at noon, which is 6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
This appointment continues the apostolic succession of bishops in our diocese that began in 1982 with our first bishop, Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, followed by Bishop Edward Thomas Hughes, Bishop Vincent De Paul Breen, me – and now, Bishop-elect Checchio.
During his papacy, Pope Francis repeatedly has urged Catholic bishops and priests to go out among their flocks and know the people they serve like “shepherds living with the smell of their sheep,” saying, “God’s grace comes alive and flourishes to the extent that clergy are among their flocks giving themselves and the gospel to others. This I ask of you: you must be shepherds who smell like your sheep.”
As I look at the mission of serving others and the vibrancy of the American seminary in Rome, where our new bishop comes from, it seems these men indeed are learning how to be shepherds living among their sheep, “with the smell of their sheep.”
As a priest of nearly 50 years, it is very heartening to see this new generation of priests taking our Holy Father’s message to heart and it leads me to believe we are going to be in very good hands with our new shepherd, Bishop-elect Checchio, leading the way.
Plus, he’s a Jersey guy like me, so perhaps I am biased.
This month marks my 14th year as Bishop of Metuchen. Throughout these years, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve the faithful of our four-county diocese and to work with some amazing people, who have been ambassadors of Christ… who truly are the face of God to others. Please know I am grateful for your support and I am confident that Bishop-elect Checchio will benefit from your kindness and generosity, as well.
Bishop-elect Checchio, on behalf of the Diocese of Metuchen, welcome home. We look forward to getting to know you better in the coming days, and we look forward to your installation on May 3rd. As you assume your new role and take on new responsibilities, please be assured of our continued prayers for you.
Before I end, let’s take a look at some of the good work he’s been doing in Rome.
We will dim the lights for a moment in order to share a short video with you.
*** WATCH CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE VIDEO HERE: https://youtu.be/cn5BXAdrj3c ***
And now, it is my pleasure to introduce our Bishop-elect, James F. Checchio and to say once again, “Welcome home.”