Pope Francis has named a new bishop of a Phoenix-based Eastern Catholic eparchy: Bishop John Stephen Pazak, C.Ss.R.
Bishop Pazak, 69, will head the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix, according to a May 7 announcement.
The Pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald Nicholas Dino, the Phoenix eparchy’s previous head. The bishop had reached the age of 75, when all bishops must submit their resignation.
The former head of the eparchy welcomed the appointment of Bishop Pazak.
“I was very happy to hear that Pope Francis has appointed him to this eparchy,” Bishop Dino told CNA May 9. “He’s a very, very gentlemanly person. A very kind, very spiritual, very happy person. Very joyful.”
Bishop Pazak will also act as apostolic administrator of his previous eparchy, the Slovakian Eparchy of Sts. Cyril and Methodius of Toronto. He had served the eparchy since his episcopal ordination in February 2001.
He was born August 13, 1946 in Gary, Indiana, the U.S. bishops’ conference said. He made his first vows as a Redemptorist in September 1965, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1972.
The Holy Mary of Protection of Phoenix eparchy serves the 2,700 Ruthenian Catholics of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Bishop Dino said the eparchy was founded by descendants of the Ruthenian people, but it is no longer ethnically oriented.
“The main thing that binds our people together is their Byzantine spirituality and Byzantine theology and liturgy,” he said.
The bishop reflected on his time at the eparchy, which he had headed since March 2008.
“I’ve tried my best and God did the rest,” he said. “Whatever I accomplished was really God’s accomplishment, not mine.”
He also credited his priests, saying, “without the priests, a bishop is nothing.”
Saturday marked other changes for Eastern Catholic eparchies in the U.S.
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop John Kudrick, 68, of the Ruthenian Eparchy of Parma. He appointed Archbishop William Skurla of the Ruthenian Archeparchy of Pittsburgh as its apostolic administrator.
The Pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo, 75, of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle of San Diego. He named Bishop Shlemon Warduni, curial bishop of the Chaldean Patriarchate of Babylon, to serve as the eparchy’s apostolic administrator.