Pope Francis appoints auxiliary bishops for Archdiocese of Baltimore

Pope Francis has appointed two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, church officials said Monday.

Monsignor Mark E. Brennan, currently pastor of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, and Monsignor Adam J. Parker, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, are to be ordained in January.


They are to succeed former Auxiliary Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, who was installed as the bishop of Springfield, Mass., in 2014, Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, whose letter of resignation was accepted Monday by Francis.

Archbishop William E. Lori, spiritual leader of the area's half million Catholics, called the appointments an "early Christmas gift" from the pope.


"This is a joyous and blessed day for our archdiocese," he said.

Brennan, 69, has known Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori since before they were ordained priests. A native of Boston and graduate of Brown University, he has spent his priesthood in the Archdiocese of Washington.

"I am humbled that, at this stage in my life and being simply a parish priest, I have been asked by Pope Francis to serve the good people of Baltimore as an auxiliary bishop," he said Monday. "It is something I never expected but I will trust in God and do my best."

In 1985, then-Washington Archbishop James A. Hickey sent Brennan to the Dominican Republic to study the Spanish language and Hispanic culture for his ministry.

Lori said that background will suit Brennan for his duties as auxiliary bishop, which are to include "helping to oversee our efforts to grow and care for the spiritual needs of Spanish-speaking Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore."

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, called Brennan's appointment "a tribute to his faithful and fruitful priestly ministry."

"We will miss him, but know that the Archdiocese of Baltimore will be gaining a fine pastoral leader," he said.

Parker, 44, graduated from Severna Park High School and the University of Maryland. He has served parishes in Frostburg and Halethorpe, as priest-secretary to Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and former archbishop of Baltimore, and as vice chancellor of the archdiocese of Baltimore.


"From the earliest days of my priesthood, in all kinds of situations and most especially in times of transition, I have consistently prayed the words, 'Thy will be done,'" he said. "Such was my prayer when I received the news that I had been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore.

"Now that I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve God's people as a bishop, my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will continue to lead and guide me to do God's will and in so doing, that I may be a faithful shepherd and an instrument of God's love and mercy."

Lori said he has worked with Parker "on a daily basis" for much of the time since he arrived as archbishop in 2012.

"Bishop-elect Parker is widely regarded by his co-workers and fellow priests and is well-prepared to assume the duties of Auxiliary Bishop," he said.

Lori said Parker will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the central services offices, which "provide spiritual leadership and administrative support" to the financial, educational, fundraising, facilities construction, information technology and human resources.

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O'Brien, who was archbishop of Baltimore from 2007 to 2011, said Parker introduced him to the archdiocese "in a major way."


"He has great instinct for the diocese and its history and its needs, and I owe him a lot through those years that we served together in Baltimore," he said. "He's very bright, very insightful. He reads situations very well and is very honest, very frank, with addressing them both with his superiors and those he is serving, as a pastor in one form or another."

Brennan and Parker are to be ordained Jan. 19 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore.

Madden, 76, submitted his letter of resignation to Francis when he turned 75 last year, as is required by canon law. Francis accepted his resignation Monday as he appointed Brennan and Parker.

Madden has served as auxiliary bishop in Baltimore since 2005.

"We have been so blessed by his dedicated service and I'm pleased that he will continue serving our local Church as our beloved auxiliary bishop emeritus," Lori said. "I am grateful for his selfless service and his willingness to continue serving God's people and I look forward to our continued work together."