WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has named Auxiliary Bishop John G. Noonan of Miami to head the Diocese of Orlando, Fla.
He succeeds Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, who was installed June 1 to head the Miami Archdiocese. He will be installed Dec. 16.
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States, announced Bishop Noonan’s appointment in Washington Oct. 23.
“I promise to preach and to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And to the best of my ability to be a bishop and shepherd to the people of the Diocese of Orlando,” Bishop Noonan said in a statement at a news conference in Orlando the day of his appointment.
He said he looked forward to learning about his new diocese from the laity, the priests, and the men and women religious.
“In the next few weeks and months I hope to be able to visit all the parishes throughout the diocese,” Bishop Noonan said. “In that way we may be able to get to know each other. I pray that together we may not only hear the word of God but that we may also live the word of God in our daily lives. In the words of St. Augustine to the people, ‘For you I am your bishop, but with you I am a Christian.'”
Archbishop Wenski said Bishop Noonan will be going to “a wonderful diocese of faith-filled people who are truly ‘alive in Christ.'”
“The Holy Father has chosen for the Diocese of Orlando an energetic shepherd who brings to the priests and people of central Florida many talents and gifts,” he said in a statement.
Archbishop Wenski described Bishop Noonan as a “good friend and a valuable collaborator” who will be missed by the Miami Archdiocese, but he said he was happy for the Catholic Church of Orlando. “With Bishop Noonan to lead them, the Catholics of central Florida will continue to witness to the hope that does not disappoint — Jesus Christ,” he said.
Born Feb. 26, 1951, in Limerick, Ireland, John Noonan received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami in 1979 and a master’s of divinity from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla., in 1983.
He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami Sept. 23, 1983. He received a master’s in education from Boston College in 1996. He was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Miami June 21, 2005. He was ordained a bishop Aug. 24 of that year.
Bishop Noonan is a member of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and serves on the bishops’ board for the American College of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.
His assignments as a priest included parochial vicar, chaplain for youth ministry and high school principal. He has served on Miami archdiocesan boards for vocations, marriage preparation and the diaconate. Earlier this year, he was named vicar general. He has been vicar for religious since 2008.
For his episcopal motto as Orlando’s bishop, he chose “God be before me and God be with me,” from Chapter 3, Verse 12, of the Book of Exodus.
“These are the words that God used in calling Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt,” Bishop Noonan said. “These too are the words of St. Patrick when he began to preach the Gospel to the people of Ireland.”
“I pray that God will be with you and me to lead us to his ultimate gift, which is the promise of eternal life, a life forever like Mary with the Lord. Thank you for being here today and I ask only that you pray for me as I will also pray for you,” he said.
The Diocese of Orlando, created in 1968, covers about 9,600 square miles. It has a Catholic population of about 414,000 out of a total population of about 4 million.
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