Bookmark and Share

July 19, 2011


Cardinal Justin Rigali announced at a news conference this morning that Pope Benedict XVI has named Archbishop Charles J. Chaput O.F.M., Cap. as the 13th Bishop and 9th Archbishop of Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput will be Installed on Thursday, September 8, 2011, the feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 2:00 p.m.

Cardinal Rigali said, "The announcement of a new diocesan bishop is always an occasion of great joy and hope for a local Church. We recall that God always provides for His people and we are reminded of the fundamental mission of the Church, which is also the core mission of the bishop. It is none other than the proclamation of the person of Jesus Christ. This is the mission of the universal Church, of this local Church of Philadelphia, and of Archbishop Chaput as our new Archbishop."

Archbishop Chaput, who is 66, is a member of the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin. He was ordained a priest in 1970 and became a bishop at the age of 43. At that time he became the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota. Since 1997 he has served as Archbishop of Denver. A member of the Prairie Band Potowatami Tribe, Archbishop Chaput is the second Native American to be ordained a Bishop in the United States and the first Native American Archbishop.

Cardinal Rigali said, "Archbishop Chaput's ministry is marked by an evident joy in his Priesthood, a fearless proclamation of the Gospel, and a clear commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church."

At the news conference, Archbishop Chaput noted that Philadelphia is one of America's truly great cities, rich in history and achievement, with an extraordinary community of Catholic faith that goes back to saints like John Neumann and Katharine Drexel. Archbishop Chaput said, "I don't know why the Holy Father sent me here. But I do trust his heart, and I do believe in his judgment. I know other bishops would have been smarter than I am, or more talented, or more connected to Philadelphia's past.

Archbishop Chaput added, "But I do promise that no bishop will love the people and priests of this local Church more than I will. No bishop will give more of himself than I will. And no bishop will try harder to help persons who have been hurt by the sins of the past, or work harder to strengthen and encourage our priests and renew the hearts of our people."

Archbishop Chaput addressed the challenge of leaving Denver for Philadelphia, by saying, "When I moved from my ministry as a bishop in South Dakota to the Archdiocese of Denver 14 years ago, I felt like I had gone from crewing a very beautiful sailboat to running a supertanker. That's the way I feel this morning. I've spent the last 23 years of my life as a bishop in the West. The priests and people of Colorado and South Dakota have formed me with their faith, their generosity, their humor and their love. Leaving a place is easy. But leaving the people who have shaped me with their friendship, opened their homes to me, and welcomed me into the happiness and sorrows of their lives - that's very, very hard. All I can say to them is thank you. My life as a priest has been filled with goodness because they made it so."

The Holy Father has appointed Cardinal Rigali to serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese until the Installation of Archbishop Chaput. Cardinal Rigali announced that as Apostolic Administrator he will serve with all the responsibilities of Archbishop. After the installation, he will begin his time of retirement in the Diocese of Knoxville, where he has been invited to live. Cardinal Rigali was installed as Archbishop of Philadelphia on October 7, 2003. Today he said, "For me, it has been a great grace and privilege to serve as the Archbishop of this historic See over the past eight years. Throughout the Archdiocese, I have found a deep faith and an unwavering generosity of spirit. I have prayed with people from all walks of life, in parishes, schools, and nursing homes at Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. In all of this I was supported by my brother bishops and priests whose fidelity, untiring pastoral care and love for the Lord have inspired me and all those whom they serve."

The Cardinal continued, "It is a formidable task to be a bishop. I have tried always throughout my ministry to be faithful to the ideal of episcopal ministry. If I have offended any one in any way, I am deeply sorry. I apologize for any weaknesses on my part in representing Christ and His Church worthily and effectively."

Following the news conference, Cardinal Rigali and Archbishop Chaput have planned the public schedule below. All are invited to attend any of the public events or follow the Archbishop's first official visit to Philadelphia virtually on Twitter and Facebook at and

Cardinal Rigali and Archbishop Chaput Schedule for Tuesday, July 19, 2011

12:05 p.m.
Cardinal Rigali will be the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul (18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway). Archbishop Chaput and the Auxiliary Bishops of Philadelphia will concelebrate. All priests in the Archdiocese have also been invited to concelebrate. Everyone is most welcome to attend.

2:00 p.m.
Visit to the National Shrine of Saint John Neumann
1019 North 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

2:50 p.m.
Visit to the Saint Katharine Drexel Mission Center and National Shrine
1663 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, PA 19020 (Bucks County)

For more information about the Archdiocese of Denver visit

Follow Archbishop Chaput on Facebook at

Follow the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Twitter at


Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

Back to Top