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28 Apr 2016 View announcement as PDF
SOUTH PLAINFIELD – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen officially will welcome its new spiritual leader on May 3, when Bishop-elect James F. Checchio, 50, a priest of the Diocese of Camden, is ordained and installed as the fifth Bishop of Metuchen. Most recently, he served for ten years as rector of the Pontifical North American College, the American seminary in Rome. He succeeds Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski, 75, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Metuchen was accepted by Pope Francis on March 8.
On Tuesday, the Feast of Saints Philip and James, a Mass of Episcopal Ordination and Installation for Bishop-elect Checchio is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Church of the Sacred Heart, 149 South Plainfield Ave. The worship site was selected for its size. Approximately 1,200 people are expected to attend, including cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, religious brothers and sisters and laity representing each of the 90 parishes of the diocese, Catholic school communities, Catholic Charities, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, and the Catholic Center at Rutgers. Due to limited seating at the Church, attendance is by ticket only.
The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Metropolitan Archbishop of Newark, will serve as the principal consecrator, also referred to as the ordaining bishop, at the Mass.
Co-consecrating bishops will be The Most Reverend Paul G. Bootkoski, who has served as fourth bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen since April 2002, and The Most Reverend Dennis J. Sullivan, who has served as eighth bishop of the Diocese of Camden since Feb. 2013. The homilist will be The Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda, Apostolic Administrator and Archbishop-designate of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, who will formally be installed May 13.
The New Jersey bishops will be joined by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States from Oct. 19, 2011, to April 12, 2016, who represents Pope Francis; His Eminence Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop-Emeritus of Washington, D.C. and the founding Bishop of Metuchen; His Eminence Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York; His Eminence Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; His Eminence Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston; His Eminence Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles; His Eminence Cardinal William J. Levada, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and The Most Reverend James Patrick Green, Apostolic Nuncio to Peru.
To allow for greater participation of the faithful, the Diocese of Metuchen, in concert with the Diocese of Brooklyn, will air a live satellite broadcast of the Mass on NET TV, EWTN and CatholicTV. It also will be streamed online as it happens on the above television websites, as well as the diocesan website at http://diometuchen.org/ordination. Live coverage will begin with a 1:30 p.m. procession leading up to the 2 p.m. liturgy. Following the Mass, a link to the recording will be posted on the diocesan website for on-demand viewing.
Established on Nov. 19, 1981 by Pope St. John Paul II, the Diocese of Metuchen is comprised of more than 640,000 Catholics, who live, work and worship in Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties.
Evening Prayer ~ May 2
On the eve of Bishop-elect Checchio’s ordination and installation, May 2, there will be a celebration of Evening Prayer at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, Metuchen, beginning at 6 p.m. The Metuchen Cathedral is the Bishop’s seat. Approximately 900 people from the Diocese of Metuchen and other areas – some from as far away as Rome – are expected to attend. Due to limited seating at the Cathedral, attendance is by ticket only.
Bishop Bootkoski will preside over the solemn liturgy, held on the Feast of St. Athanasius, bishop and doctor of the Church, while Bishop-elect Checchio will serve as the principal celebrant. The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, former bishop of Camden, who has served as bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn since October 2003, will deliver the homily.
During Evening Prayer, Cardinal O’Brien will bless Bishop-elect Checchio’s pontifical insignia – the symbols of the office of bishop – including an episcopal ring, miter (bishop’s hat) and crosier (bishop’s staff). These items will be formally presented to Bishop-elect Checchio during the Rites of Ordination at Mass the following day.
Representatives of the diocese and local community will participate in the evening liturgy, including Catholic clergy, religious men and women, lay leaders, and religious leaders of other faiths and Christian denominations. There also will be representatives who are involved in various diocesan ministries in the areas of religious formation, Catholic schools, social services, healthcare, multi-cultural, respect life, veterans and persons with disabilities.
Bishop Checchio was born in Camden, N.J., April 21, 1966, one of four children of James and Helen Checchio. He was raised in Collingswood, where he attended St. John School, and went on to Pope Paul VI High School in Haddon Township.
Most recently, Bishop Checchio served as rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome from January 2006 to January 2016, after serving as vice rector there for two and a half years.
Prior to that, he held various roles in the Diocese of Camden. Bishop Checchio served as secretary to Bishop James T. McHugh, vice chancellor, director of communications, moderator of the curia, and episcopal vicar for administration of the diocese. He also served in the Tribunal and as a member of the College of Consultors, Presbyteral Council, Investment Committee and Diocesan Finance Council.
He served as parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish, Blackwood; and assisted at St. Jude Parish, also Blackwood; and summer parochial vicar at St. Peter Parish, Merchantville; and St. Peter Celestine Parish, Cherry Hill.
Bishop Checchio was appointed a Chaplain to His Holiness by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000, granting him the title of monsignor; he was appointed a Prelate of Honor of His Holiness by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.
Bishop Checchio earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in philosophy at the University of Scranton, Scranton, Pa. He studied at North American College, Rome, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Camden June 20, 1992, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden.
He also earned a Master of Business Administration degree at LaSalle University, Philadelphia; and Doctorate of Canon Law and Bachelor of Sacred Theology degrees at Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome.
For information and updates on the events surrounding the Episcopal Ordination and Installation for Bishop-elect Checchio, visit the Diocese of Metuchen’s website, http://diometuchen.org/ordination, and official social media pages, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DioceseofMetuchen and Twitter https://twitter.com/diocesemetuchen.
NOTE: As of May 3, His Eminence Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, will not be in attendance.