Ohio Priest to Be Next Bishop for West Michigan
April 18, 2013
A priest from the Diocese of Cleveland has been appointed to serve as the next bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids in western Michigan, church officials announced Thursday.
David John Walkowiak, 59, will be the Diocese of Grand Rapids' 12th bishop, the diocese said in announcing the appointment by Pope Francis. Walkowiak will succeed Bishop Walter A. Hurley, who submitted his resignation in 2012 at the age required by the church of 75.
"In accepting this appointment I renew my trust in the Lord who asks me to set out again on a new mission," Walkowiak said in a statement. "I thank God for providing me with the opportunity to serve this local church, which I pray will be a blessing to its people."
Hurley will retire June 18, the same day Walkowiak will be installed as bishop during a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Grand Rapids.
"Walkowiak's education, service to the Church and pastoral ministry to the people of the Diocese of Cleveland will be of great benefit in this new role to which he has been called," Hurley said.
Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron issued a statement saying that the 1.3 million-member Archdiocese of Detroit "shares the joy of the church in Grand Rapids in welcoming Bishop David Walkowiak as Bishop Hurley's successor. On behalf of us all I offer prayerful support to Bishop Hurley as he begins his new chapter in his service to the church."
Walkowiak grew up in Westlake, Ohio and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Cleveland in 1979. He is currently pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Walkowiak's first assignment was to St. Mary Parish in Lorain, Ohio. After receiving a doctorate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America, he was assigned to the faculty of Saint Mary Seminary in Wickliffe and to the Chancery staff of the Diocese of Cleveland.
The Diocese of Grand Rapids serves 82 parishes and about 182,000 Roman Catholics in West Michigan.
Hurley's retirement follows nearly eight years as bishop of Grand Rapids. He will serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese, functioning as bishop, until Walkowiak is installed as bishop. And Hurley plans to continue working with the Diocese of Grand Rapids.
"I will continue to make Grand Rapids my home and assist our new bishop as needed and help in our parishes and the diocese as called upon to serve," Hurley said.