New Bishop to Be Installed in Metuchen Diocese in May
By Sue Epstein
March 9, 2016
|Bishop Paul Bootkoski hugs Reverend Monsignor James Checchio at the press conference after Pope Francis appointed Reverend Monsignor James Checchio to serve as bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen and he was introduced today at a press conference in Piscataway. 3/7/16 (Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)|
A new bishop will be installed in the Diocese of Metuchen in May, replacing Paul Bootkoski who has served as bishop there for 14 years.
The Rev. Monsignor James Checchio, 49, was introduced Tuesday morning at a press conference in the auditorium of the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center in Piscataway, which was filled with priests, and other members of the diocese he will soon lead.
"I'm looking forward to making this my home for a very long time," Checchio said.
Bootkoski will remain in charge of the diocese until Checchio's installation, according to a diocese statement.
Checchio spent the last 12 years as the rector for the Pontifical North American College in Rome, but he is originally from Collingswood in Camden County.
He said he is reading all he can about the Metuchen diocese, noting, "I know it is a young diocese, 35 years this upcoming fall."
"Now this young diocese has a baby bishop go to with it and I'm going to be depending on your help and prayers," Checchio said, adding that he considers the size of the diocese a challenge.
"It's huge," he said. "I know I'll need tons of help."
Booktkoski, 75, was appointed by Pope John Paul II on Jan. 4, 2002, and was installed as the fourth Bishop of Metuchen on March 19, 2002, according to the diocese's website.
Priests and bishops have a mandatory retirement age of 75 and Bootkoski submitted his papers to retire in July, according to a diocese spokeswoman.
There are approximately 640,000 Roman Catholics in the four counties that make up the diocese, Middlesex, Somerset, Warren and Hunterdon counties.
Bootkoski said he was relieved that a "Jersey guy" was replacing a "Jersey guy" as bishop in Metuchen.
The installation is scheduled for May 3, 2016.