WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis has appointed Father Jorge Rodriguez-Novelo, a priest of the Archdiocese of Denver, to be an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese.
Bishop-designate Rodriguez-Novelo, 61, is currently pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Thornton, Colorado, and a faculty member at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver.
The appointment was announced Aug. 25 in Washington by Msgr. Rolandas Makrickas, interim charge d’affaires at the apostolic nunciature.
The bishop-designate, who was born in Merida, Mexico, was ordained as a priest of the Legion of Christ Dec. 24, 1987, and was incardinated into the Denver Archdiocese in 2008.
“Father Rodriguez is a passionate pastor and teacher of the faith, and he will serve this archdiocese well in the role of auxiliary bishop,” said a statement by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver.
“I would like the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Denver to know that my only wish is to serve the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ and to serve them according to this new mission and grace I am about to receive,” Bishop-designate Rodriguez-Novelo told the Denver Catholic, the archdiocesan newspaper.
He entered the Legionaries’ novitiate in 1984 and pursued a licentiate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Three years later, he earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Pontifical Angelicum University, also in Rome.
He held several academic positions at his order’s Center of Higher Studies in Rome from 1984 to 1992 before serving as dean of the theology department and professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome from 1993 to 1999.
While in Rome, Bishop-designate Rodriguez-Novelo earned a diploma in Mariology from the Marianum, a ponitifical institute for the study of of Mariology, and he has a doctorate in sacred theology and a licentiate in philosophy from the Gregorian.
He moved to the Archdiocese of Denver and had parish assignments at St. Therese Parish in Aurora, 1999-2001, and Ascension Parish in Denver, 2012-14. At St. John Vianney Seminary, he was vice president of studies, 2001-02 and vice rector, 2007-14. He has been a professor there since 2014.
Bishop-designate Rodriguez-Novelo returned to Rome from 2002 to 2005 to be associate pastor of Stella Maris Parish in the Diocese of Rome.
The son of Nery Maria Novelo and the late Ramon Rodriguez, he has one brother and four sisters, all of whom live in Merida. In Merida he attended a primary school run by the Maryknoll Sisters, and then secondary and preparatory schools run by the Marist Brothers.
He told the Denver Catholic that he had been informed of the appointment Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption.
“My first reaction was: ‘Thank you, Monsignor, but I am leaning to decline, I am not the right person,'” he said. “I asked for some time to pray about it, and he kindly accepted a later answer. I was not allowed to share this information with anyone. I was very distressed and I looked for refuge in our Lord the rest of the day. Only in Jesus I could find the strength to forge the answer.”
Bishop-designate Rodriguez-Novelo speaks Spanish, English and Italian, and reads French.