Pope Francis on Tuesday named two priests to become auxiliary bishops of the Diocese of Brooklyn: Monsignor James Massa and Father Witold Morziewski. Bishop Nicolas DiMarizio of Brooklyn praised the two as “men of faith who daily communicate the great joy of the Gospel.” “These two men represent the very best of the diocese. One is a parish priest who at heart is a missionary pouring himself out for others. The other is a teacher but in fact very much a father to the young men of our diocese and beyond who are studying to be priests,” Bishop DiMarizio said in a May 19 statement. Bishop-designate Massa voiced gratitude to Pope Francis for the appointment, saying the Pope “exemplifies in all he does ‘the joy of the Gospel’.” “Aware of my own inadequacies and fears, I place all my confidence in Jesus, whose love never fails us on the journey of faith,” he added. For his part, Bishop-designate Morziewski said he was “shocked” into silence when the apostolic nuncio told him of his appointment. “Soon, it came to my senses and my conscience what grace and honor I had received,” he said, thanking Pope Francis. The Polish-born priest thanked Bishop DiMarizio for his example and thanked all who had welcomed him since his arrival to the U.S. in 1992 to minister to the Polish community there. “Because of their constant openness, sincere collaboration, spiritual support and great gift of fraternity, this place became my home,” he said. “I would like to offer everything I received from God with my service to Bishop DiMarzio and to all my brothers and sisters in Brooklyn and Queens as well as the Universal Church.” Bishop-designate Massa was born in Jersey City, N.J. in 1960. He was ordained in 1986, the Brooklyn diocese said. He graduated from Boston College. He earned a master’s degree in divinity from Yale University and received a doctorate in systematic theology from Fordham University, writing his dissertation under the late Cardinal Avery Dulles. He served as a parish priest in the New York City borough of Queens and was a campus minister at Queens College in the early 1990s. The bishop-designate has served as a theology professor at several seminaries and universities, including Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie. In 2005, he became executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI named him a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and a member of the Joint Working Group between the Holy See and the World Council of Churches. He has been the Brooklyn diocese’s moderator of the curia since 2014. Bishop-designate Morziewski was born in the northeastern Polish city of Augustow in 1966. He was ordained a priest in 1991. He has served as a parish priest in Poland’s Diocese of Lomza. He is presently pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Maspeth, N.Y. He has been a judge in the diocesan tribunal, an adjunct promoter of justice for criminal causes in the diocesan tribunal, and a member of the presbyteral council. Bishop-designate Morziewski has a doctorate in canon law from the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland and has master’s degrees in theology and canon law. Bishop DiMarizio will ordain the two priests as bishops on July 20 at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph. There are three other auxiliary bishops now serving in the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. The Brooklyn diocese has about 1.5 million Catholics in a population of over 4.8 million people. It has over 600 priests, 225 permanent deacons, and over 1,000 vowed religious.
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