Vatican City, Mar 7, 2017 / 08:54 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican announced Tuesday that Pope Francis has chosen Msgr. Mark S. Rivituso, currently the archdiocese’s Vicar General, to be the next auxiliary bishop of St. Louis under Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. “I am profoundly touched by the confidence the Holy Father has placed in me,” he said in a statement March 7. “I have asked him to keep me in his prayers and I have assured him of my prayers, respect, and obedience.”  

“At the same time I am honored that I can in some way assist Archbishop Carlson in his pastoral service to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.” Rivituso, 55, was born in St. Louis Sept. 20, 1961, the sixth of eight children. As a child he had a close relationship with his grandmother, who was the influence behind his devotion to the Rosary, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the St. Louis Review reports. He told the paper that he had also been an altar server, which is when he “started hearing the call from Jesus to become a priest.”  

The bishop-elect then attended Catholic grade school and high school in St. Louis, as well as Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick Seminary, earning a master’s degree and a licentiate in canon and civil law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. He was ordained to the priesthood in May 1988, and was given the title “monsignor” by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

In addition to serving at various parishes within St. Louis, he was also appointed to the Metropolitan Tribunal staff from 1993-1994 and from 1996-2004. He was also acting associate master of ceremonies to the archbishop from 1997-2008. In 2011, he was appointed vicar general of the archdiocese, sharing the office with Bishop Edward M. Rice until the bishop’s appointment as head of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in Missouri, in 2016.

In his statement, the bishop-elect said he has “a great love for the Church in St. Louis, and relying on the example of the previous auxiliary bishops of St. Louis, who served so faithfully, I, too, look forward to serving the Church in this new role.”

Archbishop Carlson also reflected on the appointment, saying in his own March 7 statement that on behalf of all the clergy, religious, and laity in the archdiocese, “I want to offer our congratulations and thanks to Bishop-elect Rivituso for accepting the Holy Father’s call to continue his service to our local church in this new leadership role as auxiliary bishop.” Msgr. Rivituso will be ordained a bishop May 2 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

For his episcopal motto he has chosen the phrase “Caritas Christi Urget Nos,” which means, “The Love of Christ Impels Us.”