Pope Francis has named Father Robert Barron, Msgr. Joseph V. Brennan and Msgr. David G. O’Connell as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The new auxiliary bishops will join Archbishop José H. Gomez, other auxiliary bishops, priests and deacons in serving the faithful of the largest archdiocese in the United States.

“I believe each of these new auxiliary bishops will help us in our mission here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — the beautiful mission we have of sharing the love of God and the message of Jesus Christ and promoting human dignity and mercy and justice in our society,” Archbishop Gomez said during a July 21 press conference at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Bishops-elect Barron, Brennan and O’Connell joined the archbishop, as well as auxiliary bishops Gerald Wilkerson, Thomas Curry, Oscar Solis, Edward Clark and Alexander Salazar, along with Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles.

“The greatest joy of my life is being a pastor,” said Bishop-elect O’Connell, a native of County Cork, Ireland. “I think our parishes and schools are powerful instruments of transformation of people’s lives and of neighborhoods. I hope that as an auxiliary bishop I can continue to be a good pastor for the people.”

Bishop-elect O’Connell was ordained to the priesthood in 1979, having studied at All Hallows College in Dublin. He served as associate pastor at St. Raymond in Downey, St. Maria Goretti in Long Beach and St. Hillary in Pico Rivera before serving as pastor of St. Frances X. Cabrini, Ascension, St. Eugene and St. Michael’s parishes.

Having served in the inner city, Bishop-elect O’Connell has worked alongside community leaders and law enforcement in various gang intervention programs. He is also a member of the archdiocese pastoral committee on immigration.

Cardinal Timothy Manning ordained Bishop-elect Brennan to the priesthood in 1980. He served as associate pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Linus in Norwalk and at the Cathedral of St. Vibiana. As pastor he served at St. Linus and Holy Trinity in San Pedro before taking on responsibilities as moderator of the curia and vicar general.

“I am humbled and deeply indebted to Pope Francis and Archbishop Gomez for this great honor and responsibility,” said Bishop-elect Brennan. “I am blessed to be able to continue to serve in such a beautiful community of faith deeply rooted in our Church’s mission of mercy and service. We can see this in the many wonderful good works to help those in need at all of our 287 parishes.”

Bishop-elect Robert Barron was ordained to the priesthood in 1986. Shortly after his ordination, he served as associate pastor at St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Bishop-elect Barron is the founder of Word on Fire, a global media ministry that has been spreading the message of the New Evangelization since 2000. He is currently the rector/president of Mundelein Seminary University of St. Mary of the Lake in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“I am grateful to Pope Francis for his confidence in me and to Archbishop Gomez for his willingness to allow me to minister in this beautiful, richly diverse and spiritually vibrant Church,” said Bishop-elect Barron.

“I have visited the Los Angeles area many times, including … journeys to speak at the legendary Religious Education Congress in Anaheim. So although I cannot say that I know this archdiocese well, I have indeed been able to taste and see some of its goodness.”

The pope also announced that he had accepted the resignation of Bishop Wilkerson. Archbishop Gomez thanked the bishop for 50 years of service to the archdiocese.

Bishop Wilkerson “has fulfilled his ministry with zeal and dedication, and we are very grateful for the many things he has done for the people of God in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles,” the archbishop said.

“We are also grateful because we know that even in his retirement, his health and energy will allow him to continue his ministry among us,” the archbishop said. “I’m personally very grateful for his ministry, for his friendship, advice and fraternal support since I came to the archdiocese.”

 The Archdiocese of Los Angeles comprises three counties in the southern part of the state of California: Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The area extends from the northern county line of Santa Barbara County, near the city of Santa Maria, to the southern county line of Los Angeles County.

More than 5 million Catholics live in the archdiocese’s 8,762 square miles. There are 287 parishes located in 120 cities, seven missions and chapels and nine Eastern Catholic churches.

In all, there are a total of 225 Catholic elementary schools serving some 65,000 students, while there are 53 Catholic high schools with about 30,000 students enrolled. Together they comprise one of the three largest school systems in California, in either the public or private sector.

Ethnic services in a very culturally mixed environment are offered to 72 different groups. These services include clergy, liturgy, social services, publications, counseling, and cultural affairs.