Pope Names Bishops for New York State

Albany and Rockville Centre Catholics will have new shepherds.

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican announced that Msgr. Edward Scharfenberger will take the helm as the new bishop of Albany, N.Y., with Msgr. Andrzej Jerzy Zglejszewski stepping up as auxiliary in Rockville Centre, N.Y.

“How grateful I am to His Holiness Pope Francis for the awesome privilege to serve as pastor of all the wonderful people in the Diocese of Albany,” Bishop-elect Scharfenberger stated in the Feb. 11 press release announcing his appointment.

“It is humbling when I think that I soon will be counted among the successors of the Lord's apostles,” he said, emphasizing that “I am not worthy of this office, and I hope that our priests, deacons, religious and laypeople will pray for me often, as, together, we continue along our journey of faith.”

Born in Brooklyn in 1948, Msgr. Scharfenberger was ordained a priest on July 2, 1973, in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome by Bishop James Hickey, who was later named cardinal-archbishop of Washington. He will be taking the place of Bishop Howard Hubbard, who has stepped down upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.

Since 2002, the bishop-elect has served as pastor of St. Matthias Church in Ridgewood, N.Y., which is a multiethnic parish with a large German congregation, Albany’s newspaper, the Times Union, reports.

Among his other recent assignments are his service as vicar for strategic planning and episcopal vicar of Queens.

Msgr. Scharfenberger was introduced this morning during an 11am news conference at the diocese's Pastoral Center in Albany, and the date of his ordination as bishop is yet to be announced.

In wake of the appointment, Bishop Hubbard expressed that Msgr. Scharfenberger’s “rich background” in both canon and civil law, as well as his years as pastor of a multiethnic parish, “will serve him well in our diocese and will be most appreciated by our growing Hispanic-speaking community.”

“We are most grateful that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has graced us with such a gifted shepherd, and we pledge him our prayers, loyalty, support and love.”

Also announced today was Pope Francis’ appointment of Msgr. Andrzej Jerzy Zglejszewski, 52, as auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre.

Bishop-elect Zglejszewski, born in Czarna Biarostocta, Poland, in 1961, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre by Bishop John McGann in 1990, where he currently serves as co-chancellor and director of the worship office.

“I think everyone is very surprised by the news coming from Rome, and I hope everyone will understand why my heart and mind turns to both wonder and joy,” he stated in the Feb. 11 press release announcing his appointment.

“I am humbled by the Holy Father’s appointment, and even though I always wanted to serve God and the Church in the best way I can, I am overwhelmed with the sense of my unworthiness.”

Following his ordination to the priesthood, Msgr. Zglejszewski served as an associate pastor at St. Christopher parish in Baldwin, St. Thomas the Apostle parish in West Hempstead, and then in the parish of St. Rose of Lima, Massapequa, until he was appointed as worship-office director, and, in 2012, co-chancellor.

The bishop-elect studied both philosophy and theology in Bialystok before coming to the United States in 1987, where hevcompleted his studies for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y.

Msgr. Zglejszewski will be ordained as a bishop by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre at the Cathedral of St. Agnes in New York on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation.

Regarding his appointment, Bishop Murphy noted, “I am very grateful to the Holy Father for giving our diocese this good and holy priest of many talents to assist me in the pastoral care of the 1.5 million Catholics of our diocese.”

“I know the priests, deacons, liturgical ministers and all the people of God will welcome this appointment … with gratitude to God and with great joy.”

Although the bishop-elect expressed that he is “humbled and in fear of my own unworthiness,” he asked for both “support and prayers” in his new mission.

“I turn to Mary and Joseph and ask them for their assistance and help. I want, like Joseph, ‘Not to be afraid’ and respond to the whispers of the Holy Spirit in the same way Mary did, ‘Fiat Voluntas Tua.’ May everything be done everywhere according to God’s will.”