Pope Benedict XVI named Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia Msgr. Robert P. Deeley an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston Nov. 9. In a press conference that day it was announced that Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley will ordain him to the episcopacy at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston Jan. 4, 2013. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley will ordain Bishop-elect Deeley to the episcopacy at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston Jan. 4, 2013.
"Our new auxiliary bishop demonstrates the characteristics of Boston's wonderful priests. He loves the Church. He is a man of prayer and devotion. He is a hard worker. I have been blessed to have him at my side in this past year, and I know that we will all continue to be blessed by his ministry and leadership as a bishop," the cardinal said at a press conference held at the archdiocese's Pastoral Center that day.
The bishop-elect will continue serving the archdiocese as vicar general and moderator of the curia. Speaking to the media, he explained what this means for the Archdiocese of Boston.
"I will continue my responsibilities here in the Pastoral Center as the moderator of the curia and the vicar general for the archdiocese, which are very important roles, but I will also, as a bishop, be able to represent the Church and the cardinal in those contexts in which that is important," Bishop-elect Deeley said.
He said the cardinal has already scheduled him to participate in confirmations.
"On Sunday I will go to the (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) meeting in Washington, so I am able to be of assistance to the cardinal and to the other bishops in that context as well," he said.
As part of the appointment, the pope assigned Bishop-elect Deeley the Titular See of Kearney, which later became the Diocese of Grand Island in Nebraska in 1917.
"Every bishop has a diocese, and it was very kind of the Holy Father to choose one for me that was located in the United States," Bishop-Elect Deeley said.
Bishop-elect Deeley, 66, is fourth in a family of five sons. His younger brother, Father Kevin Deeley, serves as pastor of St. Michael Parish in North Andover.
He was born in Cambridge and was raised in Belmont. His parents, Michael and Mary, now deceased, came to the United States from their place of birth in County Galway, Ireland. The family later joined Sacred Heart Parish in Watertown. The bishop-elect attended Matignon High School in North Cambridge, graduating in 1964.
Following high school, he worked to discern a vocation to the priesthood at Cardinal O'Connell Minor Seminary in Jamaica Plain. He went on to study philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 1968.
After a year of post-graduate studies, he attended the Pontifical North American College in Rome for his theological formation. At the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he earned a degree in theology (S.T.B.) in 1972. Cardinal Humberto Medeiros ordained him to the priesthood at his home parish on July 14, 1973. He returned to the North American College in Rome for a doctorate in canon law (J.C.D) in 1986.
"The fact of the matter is that canon law is applied theology. If you have a grasp of what the law tells us, then you understand how the Church is organized, and what the theology of the Church is, what the ecclesiology of the Church is with the pope at the head and the bishop at the head of the diocese," he said.
"My studies in canon law have been very, very helpful to me in understanding how I can better serve God's people. The ultimate purpose of the law of the Church is the salvation of souls," he said.
"Every service that we do, as priest, bishop, cardinal, pope, is to help people to be saved in Jesus Christ," he said.
After returning to the archdiocese, he served on the Metropolitan Tribunal in various capacities. He was named judicial vicar, the archdiocese's top canon law official, in 1989 and became the president of the Canon Law Society of America in 2000. In 1999 he was also named pastor of St. Ann's Parish in Quincy.