Fr. George Rassas Ordained As Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago

Archdiocese of Chicago
February 2, 2006

A Baltimore native who grew up in Winnetka, Most Rev. George J. Rassas, was ordained as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago Thursday, February 2, in a ceremony that took place at Holy Name Cathedral, State and Superior streets.

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, served as consecrator and principal celebrant of the Mass. Co-consecrators were the Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson, AZ, and the Most Reverend Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi, S.C.V., Auxiliary Bishop of Lima, Peru.

Ordained a priest in 1968, Fr. Rassas, 62, was raised in Winnetka and attended Saints Faith Hope and Charity grammar school. He is the former pastor of St. Mary Parish in Lake Forest and currently serves as the Vicar General of the Archdiocese.

The rite of ordination took place after the Gospel of the Mass when Presbyteral Council Chairman Fr. John Collins, in the name of the Catholic community, asked for the ordination of Fr. Rassas to the Office of Bishop.

Most Rev. John R. Manz, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, then presented the Apostolic Mandate of Pope John Paul II, authenticating the discernment process of the Church and the Holy Father's choice of this priest for ordination.

After examining the new bishop regarding his readiness for ordination, and after the new bishop expressed fidelity to the Church, Cardinal George silently imposed his hands on the candidate's head. The ancient gesture of the Church expresses the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and is the heart of the ordination rite. The other bishops present subsequently imposed their hands on the new bishop.

After the "laying on of hands," Cardinal George and the attending bishops offered the solemn prayer of consecration. During the prayer, the book of Gospels was placed over the new bishop's head symbolizing the power of the Word of God over all. The scriptures are to be the foundation of the bishop's teaching office.

As the new bishop's head was anointed with chrism (holy oil), he was given objects characteristic of his ministry: the book of Gospels as a symbol of preaching and teaching; the bishop's ring as a symbol of his espousal to the Church; and a miter (headdress) with a crozier (staff) reflecting the role of bishop as one who gathers and shepherds the people of God.

Following the Mass, a reception was held in the cafeteria of Frances Xavier Warde School, adjacent to the cathedral.

Bishop Rassas graduated from Quigley North High School, Niles College and Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary before being ordained. He served as an associate pastor at Queen of the Rosary Parish, Elk Grove Village; St. Genevieve Parish, Chicago; St. Norbert’s Parish, Northbrook; Sacred Heart Parish, Winnetka; and St. Mary’s Parish, Lake Forest, before being named Vicar General in November 2004.

In addition to his service in the parishes, Bishop Rassas has held many key posts in the Archdiocese. He presently serves on the Archdiocese’s Board of Consultors and the Comprehensive Archdiocesan Planning Committee. He also is on the Board of Advisors at Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. Bishop Rassas had previously been Chairman of the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council; Director of the Office of Family Ministries; and Associate Director of the Catholic Family Consultation Service and Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women.

His academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Loyola University, Chicago. He participated in a doctor of ministry program at Saint Mary of the Lake. Bishop Rassas’ commitment to education also includes his service as founding board member and chairman of the recently established St. Martin de Porres High School in Waukegan.


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