Skip to comments.Bishop Conley Appointed to Lead Diocese of Lincoln
Posted on 09/14/2012 6:34:47 AM PDT by marshmallow
Lincoln, Neb., Sep 14, 2012 / 05:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As the Diocese of Lincoln celebrates its 125th anniversary, Bishop James D. Conley has been named the region's ninth bishop by Pope Benedict XVI.
He will serve the people of Lincoln with great enthusiasm, strong leadership, and with a deep love for Jesus Christ and the Church, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver said in a Sept. 13 statement.
Bishop Conley, who has served as the auxiliary bishop of Denver since 2008, is a Kansas native and was raised Presbyterian.
He will succeed Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz, who has served the diocese for over 20 years and submitted his resignation according to Church procedure upon reaching his 75th birthday in 2010.
In the four years Bishop Conley has served as auxiliary bishop of Denver, he has become well-known for his commitment to the unborn, his enthusiasm for young people, and especially for the devotion with which he celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist, Archbishop Aquila said.
Archbishop Aquila assured Bishop Conley of prayers from Denver, as well as our continued hope for his success in his new role as shepherd of Lincoln.
Having converted to Catholicism in college, Bishop Conley was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Wichita in 1985.
He completed his philosophical formation at Mount St. Pius X Seminary in Erlanger, Ky. and his theological studies at Mount St. Mary's
(Excerpt) Read more at catholicnewsagency.com ...
I had to look up where in KS he was born: Overland Park, KS, near Kansas City.
One source mistakenly said Kansas City, MO. I hate it when journalists are careless about stuff like that.
That's a good sign.
While in Rome, Bishop Conley served as chaplain to the University of Dallas Rome Campus from 1997 to 2003 and as adjunct instructor of theology for Christendom College Rome Campus from 2004 to 2006.
Another good sign.
In 2006, he was called back to the Wichita Diocese where he served as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish.
I got text messages this morning from a Kansas native whose wife is from Lincoln. He was thrilled at the appointment!
**Bishop Conley, who has served as the auxiliary bishop of Denver since 2008, is a Kansas native and was raised Presbyterian. **
See, there IS hope for the Presbyterians. LOL!
Yup. My dad made the trip from presby to Catholic in 1955. Son and grandson of presbyterian ministers.
By the way, from an excellent article on Father Z’s site about this, one quote, relevant to this stood out:
“After earning his licentiate in Rome in 1989, Bishop Conley was appointed pastor of St. Paul parish at the Wichita State University campus Newman Center in 1991.
During that time, he received both his mother and father into the Catholic Church.”
Not only did he find the Truth and convert, but so did his parents. Deo Gratias.
Bishop Conley will be missed here in Denver although he definitely is not in the mold of a Fabian Bruskewitz.
September 14, 2012 - Pope Benedict XVI names Denver Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley bishop of Lincoln Diocese
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Denver Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley as the bishop of the Lincoln Diocese in Nebraska. The Holy See made the announcement today at noon Rome time.
Bishop Conley, 57, has served as auxiliary bishop of the Denver Archdiocese since 2008.
I join with the clergy, religious, and faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver in offering Bishop Conley our warmest congratulations, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila said in a statement. Bishop Conley is a man of deep prayer, keen intellect, warm heart, and fervent commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Conley was born on March 19, 1955, in Kansas City, Mo. He is the son of Betty and the late Carl Conley, longtime residents of Overland Park, Kan. He has one younger sister, Susan, who is married to Daniel Atkins and resides in Olathe, Kan. They have two children, Kyle and Kaitlyn. Bishop Conley is of Wea Indian descent.
A convert to the Catholic faith, Bishop Conley was ordained a priest of Wichita, Kan., in 1985. After earning a licentiate in moral theology from the Accademia Alfonsian, he spent 10 years as an official in the Congregation for Bishops in Rome. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Denver on April 10, 2008, and installed as bishop on May 30, 2008.
He served as apostolic administrator of Denver for 10 months after former Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput was installed to head the Philadelphia Archdiocese on Sept. 8, 2011, and before Archbishop Aquila was installed in Denver on July 18, 2012.
I am honored, and humbled, by this appointment. There is nothing more important for a bishop than the care of souls, Bishop Conley told the Denver Catholic Register. God has called me to be the shepherd of souls in the Diocese of Lincoln. I know I need to rely on his grace for this great responsibility. I am looking forward to getting to know Lincoln. My mission as bishop there will remain the same as it has in Denver: to help all people to encounter Jesus Christ, and to become holy, as God in heaven is holy.
Bishop Conley will succeed Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, who at 77 has served two years past the age canon law says bishops may retire. Pope Benedict XVI has accepted Bishop Bruskewitzs resignation, the Holy See announced this morning.
The entire Diocese of Lincoln joins me in welcoming and congratulating Bishop Conley, telling him and everyone how flattered we are to have as our new spiritual shepherd such a distinguished and accomplished prelate, Bishop Bruskewitz said in a statement. Collectively, we thank almighty God for this precious and important gift which he has bestowed on us through the ministry of Christs vicar.
Bishop Conley will be the ninth bishop of Lincoln.
The Lincoln Diocese is smaller than the Denver Archdiocese in both regional size and in population. Established Aug. 2, 1887, it covers 23,844 square miles in southern Nebraska and has a total population of 588,641 people, of which 96,625 are Catholic served by 134 parishes.
Denver became a diocese on Aug. 16, 1887, and an archdiocese on Nov. 15, 1941. The Denver Archdiocese covers 40,000 square miles in northern Colorado that is home to more than 3 million people, of which 550,000 are Catholic served by 142 parishes.
"During our years serving together, Bishop Conley was a wonderful brother and friend, completely devoted to the Church in Denver, Archbishop Chaput said in a statement. He's a man of warmth and intelligence, a great mentor of young adults, and equally at home in college forums and local parishes. He has a keen love for people and ideas, and a vivid zeal for the faith. He'll be very much missed by people in Denver, but he's the perfect man to shepherd the Church in Lincoln, and the people of Nebraska will love him."
Bishop Conleys episcopal motto is the same as the great 19th-century English convert, Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, cor ad cor loquitur, which means heart speaks to heart.
His installation will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 20 in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln.
In the four years Bishop Conley has served as auxiliary bishop of Denver, he has become well-known for his commitment to the unborn, his enthusiasm for young people, and especially for the devotion with which he celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist, Archbishop Aquila said in a statement. He will serve the people of Lincoln with great enthusiasm, strong leadership, and with a deep love for Jesus Christ and the Church. The Archdiocese of Denver assures him of our prayers, and our continued hope for his success.
Blessed John XXIII Diocesan Center
September 14, 2012
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Your Excellency, Bishop Bruskewitz, my brother priests, consecrated men and women in religious life, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Good morning and thank you for being here!
I am honored and humbled to stand with you today.
There is nothing more important for a bishop than the care of souls.
Today, Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has asked me to come to Lincoln to serve as your new shepherd, to lead and guide the people of this diocese as your ninth bishop. I am honored to begin my episcopal ministry here in Lincoln during the 125th anniversary year of this great diocese.
Together we have one aim: that all men and women will come to know Jesus Christ, will live in the abundance of his love and will become holy as our Father in heaven is holy.
I am dedicated above all else to this noble mission. I am grateful to know that I can already count on your prayers and your collaboration.
Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The cross is at the heart and center of the Christian life. Jesus Christ conquered sin and death through his suffering on the cross, his death, and his resurrection -- the Paschal Mystery. St. Thomas Aquinas reflected that: there is nothing to unify God and the soul but the cross. So today I pray that we may be united with our Blessed Mother Mary, at the foot of the cross.
Lincoln is known as a place of holy priests, holy and numerous seminarians (44 seminarians currently in formation), holy religious, and holy families. The Lord has also blessed this diocese with holy bishops, courageous shepherds after the heart of Jesus. The leadership of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz over these past 20 plus years has been an incredible grace to this community. He has been a true champion of the Catholic faith and he has been a personal hero of mine for years. All of us owe him a great debt of gratitude.
The state of Nebraska, with its capital city here in Lincoln, is also well known for its steadfast defense of the unborn, civil and religious liberty, traditional marriage between a man and a woman, and strong family values. I am not yet the Bishop of Lincoln - but I am already proud of the people of this great state.
Although I come from Kansas -- and I will remain a Jayhawk basketball fan forever -- I am excited to come to Husker country. At least we are in different conferences now! Having been on the receiving end of football dominance for years, I am happy now to be on the other side of the ball. Im looking forward to beating Arkansas State tomorrow!
I also understand that some of the best Kolaches in the world are produced in this diocese down the road in Prague and in Wilber.
My life as a priest is already connected to the history of this diocese. As a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, I served under the leadership of Bishop Michael Jackels and Bishop Thomas Olmsted, both men chosen as bishops from the ranks of the Lincoln presbyterate.
As auxiliary bishop in Denver, I read about the legacies of Archbishop James Casey and Bishop J. Henry Tihen (whose pectoral cross I am wearing) - both men who served first as bishops of Lincoln and then of Denver.
And because of the strong friendship between Bishop David Maloney, the bishop who received me into the seminary, and Bishop Glennon P. Flavin, a true giant in the history of the Diocese of Lincoln, many of the priests of Lincoln were seminarians with me at St. Pius X Seminary in Erlinger, Kentucky, and Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
And so to my brother priests, you will be my closest collaborators in ministry here in the Diocese of Lincoln. I look forward to forging the bonds of fraternity and friendship with you. I am honored to know you as brothers in the vineyard of the Lord. I look forward to renewing old bonds of friendship from our seminary days, and to getting to know many of you for the first time.
Brothers, we depend on one another for the salvation of souls, which is our primary mission.
Men and women religious -- your consecration serves the whole Church. You witness to the Kingdom of God through your vows. You are a sign of the universal vocation to holiness. I am grateful for your prayers and for your ministry, particularly the prayers of our cloistered contemplative sisters who pray for us unceasingly.
My dear laymen and women -- I look forward to spending time with you and your families, getting to know you and your communities. I am eager to share life in Jesus Christ with you through the sacraments, particularly in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. I am eager to work alongside you in the New Evangelization, as members of the Body of Christ.
I became a Catholic as a young man during my undergraduate years at the University of Kansas. I was raised a Presbyterian and after I was ordained a priest, I had the privilege of receiving both my mother and my father into the Catholic Church. Because of my conversion experience during those college years, I have a heart for evangelization.
As we begin this special Year of Faith called by our Holy Father I look forward to sharing our faith with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are not Catholic, and with those in their student years -- who so often hunger for a real encounter with the Risen Lord.
Most of my priesthood has been spent working with college students, both as a university chaplain and a theological instructor. I know the University of Nebraska Newman Center has a stellar reputation. That important apostolate fills me with joy.
I also have a great love and appreciation for agriculture and for the rural life. After I graduated from college I moved out to north central Kansas, just a few miles south of Superior, and began truck farming with a few college friends. I fell in love with the beautiful rhythm of rural life and the wonder of Gods creation. It was from there, and from that experience, that I discerned a call to priesthood and left for the seminary.
My episcopal motto is taken from my spiritual patron, Blessed John Henry Newman. The motto is heart speaks to heart (Cor ad cor loquitur). I hope that as our hearts speak with one another, all of us may encounter the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.
Of course, today I want to thank my family. My father died in 2006, and I remember him today. My dear mother is my constant support. You are going to love my mother she still plays golf at 84! I also want to thank my sister and brother-in-law and their family.
And I want to thank, in a special way, our Blessed Mother, under her title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Diocese of Lincoln. She is our life, our sweetness and our hope. Of course, I wish to consecrate my ministry here in Lincoln to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I want to thank Bishop Bruskewitz for his leadership and for welcoming me so warmly to the Diocese of Lincoln. I am also grateful to those who have aided me today in Lincoln. I want to thank Archbishop Viganò, the Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, for his help and service to the Church.
I also want to thank Archbishop Samuel Aquila and the clergy and faithful in Denver. In a particular way, I would like to thank Archbishop Charles Chaput, the former Archbishop of Denver and currently the Archbishop of Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput formed me and shaped me as a bishop and I will be forever indebted to him for that.
And I am especially grateful to our Holy Father for his confidence in me by naming me the ninth Bishop of Lincoln.
I promise you my prayers, and I promise to give all that I am to the people of Southern Nebraska. I will count on your prayers and the grace of God.
By Roxanne King
On Sept. 13 Denver Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley spoke to the Denver Catholic Register about his new appointment as bishop of the Lincoln Diocese.
Q: When and how did you find out about your new appointment?
A: I got the call on Friday, Sept. 7 as I was driving to the chancery. I saw on my cell phone that the area code was Washington and knew it was probably from the apostolic nunciature because I dont know anyone else in Washington, so I pulled over. It was Archbishop (Carlo Maria) Vigano. He told me the Holy Father had named me the new bishop of Lincoln, Neb.
The next day, Sept. 8, was the birthday of the Blessed Mother. So I spent Marys birthday marveling at the incredible ways God works in our life. The Lord called Mary to be the Mother of God and she said yes, with trust and faith. He has called me to be the bishop of Lincoln. And he calls each one of usevery single one of usto a mission for his sake, and to holiness in Jesus Christ.
Q: What was your reaction?
A: I am honored, and I am humbled, by the confidence the Holy Father has expressed in me. There is nothing more important for a bishop than the care of souls. God has called me to be the shepherd of souls in the Diocese of Lincoln. I know I need to rely on his grace for this great responsibility.
A couple of days before Archbishop Vigano called, on Sept. 5 the feast of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, I had asked her intercession that if I was ever called to a diocese I would have the peace, tranquility and joy to accept wherever it might be. She answered that prayer because as soon as I heard the nuncio speak the words about my appointment, there was a certain peace. Even though I love Denver, was formed as a bishop in Denver and have made such good friends hereits been a wonderful time in my lifeI knew that this was from God.
I am very joyful for the blessings God has given me. Lincoln has always been a diocese that Ive looked up to. There are a number of priests in the Lincoln Diocese I went to seminary with and I always admired them and the bishops I knewBishop (Glennon) Flavin and Bishop (Fabian) Bruskewitzthey are heroes in my mind. The other feeling I had when I heard the nuncio say Lincoln was a real unworthiness knowing Id be filling the shoes of giants because Ive looked up to both of those bishops throughout my whole priesthood. They have been stellar models of episcopal leadership.
Q: You grew up in Kansas, served as a priest there several years in two stints, then served at the Vatican 10 years, and the last four years youve served as an auxiliary bishop in Denver. How have those experiences changed you and how do you feel about leaving Denver?
A: Ive been fortunate to be formed as a priest by the people of Wichita, by my experiences in Rome, and by my time in Denver, each in different ways.
Wichita is the diocese where I was ordained. The priests and people there were instrumental in helping me discover my vocation, and in learning what it is to be a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.
In Rome I gained an experience of the universal Church, which helped me to appreciate the richness of the Gospel and of the Churchs tradition.
And in Denver Ive been formed as a bishop. Archbishop (Charles) Chaput, especially, is a hero and a friendhe helped me to understand the self-gift of a bishops ministry. I owe so much to him and to Archbishop (Samuel) Aquila, who has been a dear and trusted friend for over 20 years.
When a priest is ordained and gets his first parish, its always his first love. Denver will always hold that place in my heart because its where I learned to be a bishop.
Furthermore, the vitality of the Church here has shown me the true fruit of the new evangelization. And of course Ive made life-long friendships here, in Rome and in Wichita. I have been richly blessed in my friendships.
Q: How do you feel about your upcoming move to Lincoln and when will you actually move there?
A: My installation will be on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Ill leave for Nebraska shortly before that date. Ill spend the months of September and October preparing, and saying farewell to my friends here in Denver.
Im thrilled to go to Lincoln. It is a place of holy priests, holy religious, and holy families. To follow in Bishop Bruskewitzs footsteps is a tremendous joy. Im looking forward to getting to know the people, and to working alongside them in the new evangelization. The Year of Faith is a wonderful time to begin ministry in a new dioceseto grow together in the richness of our faith.
Q: Do you have any connections to Nebraska?
A: My life as a priest is already connected to the history of Lincoln. As a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, I served under the leadership of Bishop Michael Jackels and Bishop Thomas Olmsted both men chosen as bishops from the ranks of the Lincoln presbyterate.
As auxiliary bishop here in Denver, Ive read about the legacies of Archbishop James Casey and Bishop J. Henry Tihen, men who served first as bishops of Lincoln and then of Denver.
And because of the strong friendship between Bishop David Malony, the bishop who received me into the seminary, and Bishop Flavin, a true giant in the history of the Diocese of Lincoln, many of the priests of Lincoln were seminarians with me at St. Pius X Seminary in Erlinger, Ky., and Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.
So theres an interesting triangle of connection between Wichita, Lincoln and Denverthe trifecta as I call it.
Q: What does your family think of your new appointment?
A: My mom lives in Kansas City, and Lincoln is only about three hours away. So she is glad that Ill be closer to her. But she loves Denver and her many friends hereespecially (archdiocesan events coordinator) Tess Stone! Shes told me shell miss visiting us here. Like me, I think my family has always accepted whatever the Lord wants for my ministryso I know they will be a big support for me in Lincoln.
Q: Youre a runner, like to ski, hike, golf, and enjoy going on pilgrimage. What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I try to be transparentso I dont have very many things hidden. I think being authentically ourselves is a key to the Christian life. I love the outdoors, as you mentioned, and just got back from walking a portion of The Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I also love to readespecially Blessed John Henry Newman, my mentor and spiritual patron, and Charles Dickens, my favorite author. But not many people realize that I listen to a lot of alt-rock and folk music, in addition to Latin hymnody!
Q: What do you see are the main differences between the Lincoln Diocese and the Archdiocese of Denver and how will those differences impact your ministry?
A: Lincoln is a smaller diocesethere are around 90,000 Catholics thereand more than 500,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Denver. The territory of the diocese is also smaller. But Lincoln has more in common with Denver than it has differencesa mix of rural and urban settings, a holy and fairly young presbyterate, a history of great bishops, and a lot of very serious and committed Catholic families.
Both dioceses are known for their fidelity and their love for Holy Mother Church. The other big similarity is the fact that both the Archdiocese of Denver and the Diocese of Lincoln have experienced a tremendous increase in vocations to the priesthood. In Lincoln we have 44 seminarians studying for the priesthood in a diocese of just over 90,000 Catholicsthats tremendous. Lincoln always has among the highest number of seminarians per Catholic population in the country and Denver has that same distinction. They are both enjoying a rich harvest of vocations.
I am looking forward to getting to know Lincoln, but my mission as bishop there will remain the same: to help all people to encounter Jesus Christ, and to become holy, as God in heaven is holy.
Q: As a priest and bishop, youve had a heart for pro-life and young adult ministry. Will those apostolates continue to be a priority for you?
A: Ive always been involved in pro-life work and I like that Nebraska is a very actively pro-life state. The people of Nebraska have really been tireless advocates for the unborn, as well as for religious liberty and the defense of marriage between a man and a woman. So I am excited to work with them on these issues.
The Newman Center at the University of Nebraskain collaboration with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students)is another great apostolate. The student years are a time when many really hunger to encounter Christso I look forward to working with the Newman Center in their missionary work.
Ive worked with college students most of my priesthood as a chaplain at three different colleges and as a teacher. And in Denver I formed very strong relationships and friendships with young adults at Theology on Tap lectures and Vigil Praise liturgies. Im looking forward to tapping intono pun intendedthe young adult community in the Diocese of Lincoln.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as you begin your new ministry?
A: We never know exactly what God has in store for us. So I am eager to begin this new chapter in my ministry, and to find out what Jesus Christ has for me. But my episcopal motto, cor ad cor loquitor, (heart speaks to heart) suggests an important part of my ministrybuilding relationships that point the way to faith.
I look forward to building relationships with the people of the various cities and towns that comprise the Diocese of Lincoln, which covers all of southern Nebraska. I want to get to know the different communities and the different ethnic backgrounds and traditions of rural Nebraska as well as Lincoln.
Q: What do you find most daunting about your upcoming ministry as bishop of Lincoln?
A: I think learning all the things a bishop needs to know in a new diocese will be a challenge, but I am blessed because the priests and staff in the Diocese of Lincoln have already been so helpful to me.
Q: This summer you visited your titular see beneath the sea, Cissa. What happens to that now that you have a territorial diocese?
A: Providentially, I was able to visit Cissa, my titular see this summer. Its a beautiful place off the coast of Croatia. My see beneath the sea was teeming with fish! I have to say farewell to Cissa. But I know my new see, the Diocese of Lincoln, which is teeming with people who know and love Christ, will be even more beautiful.
Q: If there was one aspect of the episcopacy youd like to clarify for people, what would it be?
A: Being a bishop means a lot of things. I think many people think most about a lot of administrative work to keep the diocese going. But the salvation of souls is the most important mission that a bishop has. The bishops role is to help the people of his diocese know and love Jesus Christ and realize their call to holiness. Im particularly excited about beginning my tenure in Lincoln during this Year of Faith. If everyone in Lincoln becomes a saintIll be successful. Until then, theres work to be doneand all for the glory of God!
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: The people of Denver have been like a family to me. I will miss them terribly. I am incredibly grateful to have been auxiliary bishop here and to have served 10 months as apostolic administrator. But we will be united in mission, in the Eucharist, and in eternity with God. We stay connected in the body of Christ. Im grateful for the way that so many people in Denver, in Wichita, in Rome, and in Kansas City, where I grew up, have influenced me, and shared life with me. I look forward to our unity in heaven!
After his arrival in Denver I wrote and asked him for his help in implementing Summorum Pontificum in the Archdiocese of Denver and he said he would do what he could. I was also hoping he could "encourage" the rector at the Cathedral to comply with the requirements for a minor basilica as outlined in Domus Dei as well.
Unfortunately for the faithful, Chaput is no fan of Latin let alone the TLM and Conley was his auxiliary. I still find it hard to believe that Chaput allowed Our Lady of Mount Carmel to remain in existence in Littleton.
Fortunately for Lincoln, Bruskewitz is Conley's predecessor. I know that the FSSP has a friend and ally in Bishop Conley as evidenced by his ordaining FSSP porters, lectors, exorcists, acolytes and a transitional deacon in Lincon in November of 2009.