Auxiliary Bishop Michael Fitzgerald retires after 4 decades serving Archdiocese of Philadelphia
(Reposted with permission from Catholic News Agency)
ROME (CNA) • Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Philadelphia’s Bishop Michael Fitzgerald one day after the auxiliary bishop’s 75th birthday.
With degrees in both civil and canon law, Fitzgerald served as the judicial vicar and the founding director of the archdiocesan Office for Legal Services. Over the past decade, he has worked to promote and maintain safe environments for children and youth in the archdiocese.
Archbishop Nelson Pérez of Philadelphia expressed gratitude for Fitzgerald’s four decades of ministry.
“Throughout the years, Bishop Fitzgerald generously sowed seeds of deep love for the Lord with the zealous heart of a missionary disciple. With great faith, fidelity, charity, and humility Bishop Fitzgerald has worked tirelessly for the good of souls and to build up the Kingdom of God in our region,” Pérez said.
Fitzgerald grew up in Philadelphia as one of nine children and attended the city’s Catholic schools. He earned a law degree from Villanova University and completed a Pennsylvania state court clerkship before entering seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on May 17, 1980.
After fulfilling his appointments as the defender of the bond and pro-synodal judge, Fitzgerald received a doctorate in canon law from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1991.
Benedict XVI appointed Fitzgerald an auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia in 2010. When he was consecrated as bishop, Fitzgerald chose the motto “Per Crucem ad Lucem,” meaning “through the Cross to the Light.”
Fitzgerald was one of five auxiliary bishops in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and assisted Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop Charles Chaput, and Archbishop Pérez with their pastoral and administrative duties.
A statement from the archdiocese said that Fitzgerald will continue to serve Philadelphia in a pastoral capacity after his retirement.
“It has been a great joy for me to work with him closely for many years and I am grateful for the wise counsel he has provided during my time as archbishop,” Perez said.
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