Updated at 12:50 p.m. June 10, with information from the press conference.
Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski
of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, as the 11th bishop and 10th archbishop of St. Louis and has accepted the retirement of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.
Archbishop Carlson turned 75 in June 2019, the age at which bishops are required to submit their retirement to the pope. Bishop-designate Rozanski, 61, has served as head of the Diocese of Springfield since 2014. He previously served as a priest and auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, made the announcement in Washington June 10, exactly 11 years to the day that Archbishop Carlson was installed as archbishop of St. Louis in 2009.
The Mass of installation for Archbishop-designate Rozanski’s Mass is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 25, the feast of St. Louis. More information on the Mass will be forthcoming as details are confirmed.
At a June 10 press conference at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Archbishop-designate Rozanski said he learned the news over two weeks ago that Pope Francis appointed him to St. Louis. He flew to his hometown of Baltimore to tell his parents, Jean and Alfred Rozanski, the news before coming to St. Louis.
His mother said, “I told you this when you were named a bishop, I told you this when you named to Springfield, and I am telling you this again: Don’t get a big head. Always be humble.” Married for 63 years, his parents have been his “rock” and “stronghold,” adding that “always shown love to us a deep faith and love for the Church.”
“Mindful of God’s goodness, I wish to express my gratitude to our Holy Father for his trust that he has placed in me,” he said. He also thanked Archbishop Carlson for his 11 years of service as shepherd of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and for “his steady leadership and living out the Gospel message in such a beautiful, humble way.”
He spoke of the troubles facing the nation, including the effects of COVID-19, the death of George Floyd and the “sad specter of racism that tears at the very fabric of our country.
“Jesus has entrusted to us His Church to be His presence in our world,” Archbishop-designate Rozanski said. But Jesus did not avoid situations that were uncomfortable, he said, but rather faced them head-on, bringing the healing presence of God to others.
“My hope is that, called to lead this Church of St. Louis, God’s grace will be in abundance in helping me to be part of that healing process and resolution to all of the daunting issues that we face,” he said. “No leader, though, can do this alone. We must work together if we truly want to realize the mandate of Jesus to bring justice and peace to our families, our communities, our nation and world.”
Archbishop-designate Rozanski was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on August 6, 1958. A Baltimore native of Polish-American descent, he lived with his family in Fells Point, Maryland, where they attended Holy Rosary Parish.
He is the oldest of three sons to Alfred and Jean Rozanski. His first brother Kenneth and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters and a son. His youngest brother Albert and his wife Danielle have one son. All of his family reside in Maryland.
When he was eight years old, the family moved to Dundalk and the parish of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Graceland Park, where he attended the elementary school. He is a graduate of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel High School (Essex) and the Catholic University of America. He attended the Theological College at the Catholic University of America, where he received seminary training.
He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on November 24, 1984. He served as an associate pastor at St. Michael, Overlea in 1984 and then the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. He was appointed associate pastor at St. Anthony of Padua, Baltimore in 1985 and St. Isaac Jogues, Baltimore in 1990. He was appointed administrator of Holy Cross and St. Mary Star of the Sea parishes in Baltimore in March 1993, before being appointed pastor there in October. In January 2000 he was appointed temporary administrator of Immaculate Conception, Towson and in June assumed the same duties at St. John before being named its pastor on November 28, 2000.
On July 3, 2004 he was named by Pope John Paul II as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and was ordained bishop on August 24, 2004 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. Upon his consecration as bishop he was named vicar general and episcopal vicar for the Seton Vicariate of the Archdiocese. He also served on the College of Consultors for the Archdiocese and as the Vicar for Hispanics. At the time of his ordination as a bishop in 2004, he was the youngest bishop in the United States.
Pope Francis appointed Bishop Rozanski as head of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts on June 19, 2014. He was installed on August 12, 2014, by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap.
Archbishop Carlson will continue to serve the Archdiocese of St. Louis as apostolic administrator until the installation of Archbishop-designate Rozanski. The Archdiocese of St. Louis said in a statement that it is grateful to Archbishop Carlson for his faithful and strong leadership throughout the triumphs and challenges of the last decade, and looks forward to the gifts he will continue to offer in the next chapter of his life.
“I am honored to have served as leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis for more than a decade,” Archbishop Carlson said. “This large and generous community of faithful Catholics will continue to encourage me in my faith journey, and I know that Bishop Rozanski will cherish his inheritance. I am confident in the future of God’s strong Church in St. Louis with (Archbishop-designate) Rozanski as its shepherd.”
At the press conference, Archbishop Carlson presented Archbishop-designate Rozanski with a small statue of St. Louis, King of France, noting St. Louis rich French Catholic heritage. He called the archbishop-designate “a true man of God. Pope Francis is appointing someone who knows the Joy of the Gospel. He has a zeal for evangelization” and is known through the northeast for his work with people of all colors and creeds. “In my mind, he is exactly what we need.”
The diocese of St. Louis was erected in 1826, and was elevated to an archdiocese in 1847. The territory of the Archdiocese of St. Louis today includes the City of St. Louis and 10 surrounding counties in Missouri. In 2019, there were approximately 2.25 million people living within the boundaries of the archdiocese, with 505,000, or 22%, identifying as Catholic.
There are 169 territorial parishes, 10 personal parishes (primarily ethnic parishes), 6 missions, 3 chapels, 2 oratories, and 6 shrines. Three hundred and nineteen diocesan priests, 262 religious order priests, 1,124 religious sisters, 84 religious brothers and 282 deacons serve the faithful of the archdiocese. Additionally, there are 25 Catholic high schools with 10,588 students and 97 Catholic elementary schools with 21,024 students in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
BORN: August 6, 1958 in Baltimore, Maryland.
EDUCATION: Sacred Heart of Mary, Graceland Park, elementary school, Dundalk, MD. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel High School (Essex). Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C (seminary training at the Theological College).
PRIESTLY ORDINATION: Ordained by Archbishop William Donald Borders for the Archdiocese of Baltimore at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on November 24, 1984.
EPISCOPAL ORDINATION: Ordained by William Cardinal Keeler, Bishop William Newman and Bishop W. Francis Maloony on August 24, 2004 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.
INSTALLED AS BISHOP OF SPRINGFIELD: Installed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., on August 12, 2014.
APPOINTED AS 10th ARCHBISHOP OF ST. LOUIS: Appointed by Pope Francis June 10, 2020.