Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The A-Train Rides Again

Another day... another appointment... and, yep, yet another pick under 50.

This morning, the Pope named Fr Joseph Siegel, 46, a parish priest in the diocese of Joliet and president of its presbyteral council, as auxiliary bishop of the 660,000-member Illinois church.

Ordained in 1988, the St Meinrad and NAC product did advanced studies in theology at both the Gregorian and Chicago's Mundelein Seminary, but has spent his entire priesthood in parish work. Given his first and only pastorate in 2004, the "highly organized, very kind" -- and, indeed, "very tall" -- bishop-elect has likewise served as diocesan master of ceremonies and a coordinator of the diocese's Respect Life efforts.

In an early-morning letter informing the diocese's priests, Joliet Bishop Peter Sartain said he was "thrilled!" at the news.

"Joe has been an exemplary priest and pastor," Sartain said, "and we priests have often called upon his considerable talents by asking him to serve on councils and committees covering a variety of areas of pastoral life. Each time he has responded generously and with competence, kindness, and love for the Lord and his people.

"He is well known to our people as well, and they respect him deeply."

One of nine children, Siegel will take his place among the Twelve early next year; his ordination's been set for 19 January at Joliet's Cathedral of St Raymond Nonnatus.

Encompassing Chicagoland's further suburbs, the Joliet church has a history of auxiliaries, the last of whom served but a year.

Ordained in March 2002 by now-retired Bishop Joseph Imesch, Bishop James Fitzgerald submitted his resignation within a year due to the onset of an aggressive form of Parkinson's disease. The 64 year-old prelate died four months after it was accepted.