VATICAN CITY — Filling a post vacant for over eight months, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, N.D., as the new Archbishop of Denver.
Archbishop-designate Aquila, 61, was announced May 29 as the Denver archdiocese’s new leader by nuncio Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the Pope’s representative to the United States.
Archbishop-designate Aquila succeeds Archbishop Charles Chaput, who led Denver-area Catholics for 14 years and was installed as head of the Philadelphia archdiocese in September 2011.
Bishop James Conley, the archdiocese's apostolic administrator, will introduce Archbishop-designate Aquila at a press conference at noon Eastern time.
The new archbishop of Denver was born in 1950, in Burbank, Calif., and was ordained to the priesthood in Denver in 1976. He went on to serve in parishes for 11 years.
In 1987, he began graduate studies at San Anselmo University in Rome, earning a sacramental theology licentiate in 1990.
He served as director for the Office of Liturgy and Master of Ceremonies in the Denver archdiocese from 1990 until 1995. He then served as the first Rector of St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver and chief executive officer of Our Lady of the New Advent Theological Institute. In 2000, he was named a monsignor by Pope John Paul II.
He was ordained as the coadjutor bishop of Fargo in August 2001 and succeeded Bishop James Sullivan as head of the diocese in March 2002.
After having served as Bishop of Fargo for 11 years, he will be installed as leader of the Denver archdiocese on July 18 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Since John Paul II’s historic visit to Denver in 1993 for World Youth Day, the archdiocese has been the launch site for numerous evangelization-oriented ministries.
These include initiatives such as the college campus ministry program FOCUS, the Catholic graduate school the Augustine Institute, and the women’s educational organization ENDOW.
The Denver archdiocese is also home to one of the largest Catholic young adult communities in the country, and its St. John Vianney seminary is known nationwide for its success in attracting vocations.