Pope Francis has named Father Robert Barron, Msgr. Joseph V. Brennan and Msgr. David G. O’Connell as auxiliary bishops in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles July 21. Here are some facts connected with Los Angeles’ new auxiliary bishops to view the appointments in their historical context:
> The announcement of three auxiliary bishops at one time is the third such announcement in the history of the L.A. Archdiocese.
In December 1986, Msgr. Armando Ochoa and Father Patrick Ziemann — both priests of the L.A. Archdiocese — and Josephite Father Carl Fisher were named auxiliary bishops by Pope John Paul II (they were ordained bishops in February 1987). They were the first auxiliaries named under Archbishop Roger Mahony. Bishop Fisher was the first (and, to this date, only) African American to serve as an L.A. auxiliary.
In February 1984, Msgrs. Thomas Curry, Joseph Sartoris and Gabino Zavala were named auxiliary bishops by Pope John Paul II. Msgr. Curry was the first native of Ireland to be named an L.A. auxiliary since Msgr. Timothy Manning in 1946; Bishop-elect O’Connell becomes the first priest of Ireland to be named an L.A. auxiliary since Bishop Curry, and the fifth native Irishman to serve in the local episcopacy. The others: Bishop Thomas Conaty and Archbishop John Cantwell.
> It has been almost 11 years since the appointment of any new auxiliary bishops for Los Angeles, the longest such break between appointments in the 79-year history of the archdiocese.
The longest previous break was nearly 10 years — from August 1946 (the appointment of Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Manning) to April 1956 (the appointment of Auxiliary Bishop Alden Bell). Bishop Manning, an L.A. auxiliary from 1946 to 1967, remains the only L.A. auxiliary bishop to later serve as Los Angeles’ archbishop.
The last episcopal appointment for Los Angeles was that of Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar in September 2004 (he was ordained to the episcopacy in November).
> The appointment of Bishops-elect Robert Barron, Joseph Brennan and David O’Connell bring to 26 the number of men who have served as auxiliary bishops in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The first auxiliary for L.A. was Joseph McGucken, named in February 1941. Ordained in 1928 as a priest of the Los Angeles-San Diego Diocese, he later became bishop of Sacramento (1955-1962) and archbishop of San Francisco (1962-1977).
Two other diocesan priests from Los Angeles have been named auxiliary bishops for other dioceses: Bishop Michael Driscoll (of Orange, and later bishop of Boise, Idaho) and the late Bishop Dennis O’Neill (of San Bernardino). Jesuit Father Gordon Bennett was serving in Los Angeles when he was named an auxiliary bishop of Baltimore in 1997; he later served as bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica, until 2006.
And three priests of the Los Angeles Archdiocese have been named to head other dioceses: Bishop Robert Lucey of Amarillo, Texas, in 1934 (he was later archbishop of San Antonio); Archbishop (later Cardinal) Justin Rigali in 1985, while serving at the Vatican (he later headed St. Louis and Philadelphia); and Bishop George Niederauer of Salt Lake City in 1995 (he is now archbishop emeritus of San Francisco).