Monday, December 12, 2005

A Change on the Gianicolo

(NOTE: This story was first broken here... Again.)

At the close of Mass this morning at the Pontifical North American College, US Military Services Archbishop Edwin O'Brien caused a wave or two by announcing a sudden change of command at the helm of the American bishops' seminary in Rome.

Effective 16 January, Msgr. Kevin McCoy, who has served as rector since 2001, will return to the United States to head the completion of the NAC's capital campaign. McCoy will be succeeded by 39 year-old Msgr. James Checchio, a priest of the diocese of Camden who has served the last two years in Rome as the college's Vice Rector for Administration.

The mid-year timing of the move, which will take effect two months before the NAC's Apostolic Visitation, has raised eyebrows across the Pond.....

Somewhere in Brooklyn, Nick DiMarzio is dancing a jig.

SVILUPPO (3.35pm): Cindy Wooden at CNS Rome chimes in:
The appointments, announced Dec. 12, were made by the college's board of governors, and Msgr. Checchio's nomination as rector was approved by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education.

The rector oversees the formation of 170 seminarians. Also under his care are the 71 U.S. priests living at the college's Casa Santa Maria while pursuing graduate degrees in Rome and the 60 priests enrolled in the college's institute for continuing formation.

Msgr. Checchio, an alumnus of the North American College, told Catholic News Service he hoped to follow the same path outlined by Pope Benedict XVI for his pontificate -- "not following my own program, but listening to the Lord."

"My hope and prayer is to help the men grow to be happy, holy, zealous priests," he said....

"Our new rector comes with a wealth of pastoral and administrative experience in his home diocese as well as two successful years as our college's vice rector," Archbishop O'Brien said in a written statement. "We are very fortunate to have a priest as exemplary and capable as Msgr. Checchio in this key position of responsibility for our church."

Ordained to the priesthood in 1992, Msgr. Checchio holds a doctorate in canon law from Rome's Angelicum University.

He has served the Diocese of Camden as vice chancellor, as a member of the marriage tribunal and as diocesan director of communications. In 2004, he earned a master's degree in business administration from La Salle University in Philadelphia.