By Christie L. Chicoine

CS&T Staff Writer

Msgr. Joseph P. Duncan, 45, currently the pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Springfield, Delaware County, has been named regional vicar for Bucks County, effective July 6.

“I am very humbled by the appointment,” Msgr. Duncan said.

Msgr. Duncan has also been named pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bensalem, Bucks County, effective June 15.

For Msgr. Duncan, Bucks County is a homecoming of sorts. His first assignment, from 1989 to 1993, was parochial vicar of St. Ephrem Parish in Bensalem.

“Bucks County has been a part of my priestly ministry from the earliest days,” he said. “To return to Bucks County is a great honor. I look forward to my service at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, in a special way to working with the priests, the deacons, the religious and all the people of Bucks County.”

Msgr. Duncan’s spiritual goal for both jobs is “to make known the face and the presence and the love of Christ,” he said. “I just ask for the prayerful support and patience of the people of St. Charles Borromeo Parish and of the vicariate of Bucks County.”

Msgr. Duncan succeeds Msgr. James D. Beisel as regional vicar.

“I am especially indebted to my dear friend, Msgr. Beisel, who has done such a marvelous job in the past 10 years, and his predecessor, [the late] Msgr. [John] Bartos, whom I knew very well. I hope I can live up to the legacy they’ve handed on to me.”

When Cardinal Justin Rigali named him to the post, Msgr. Duncan pledged to do his best to be a support to the Cardinal, to the regional bishop, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, and to all the priests who serve the vicariate.

According to the archdiocesan Office for Research and Planning, as of Dec. 31, 2008, Bucks County had 244,476 registered Catholics, or 76,828 registered Catholic households. At 622 square miles, it is the second largest vicariate geographically, behind Chester County, which has 760 square miles.

Msgr. Duncan succeeds Father Gerard C. Mesure as pastor at the Bensalem parish. Msgr. Duncan expressed his gratitude to Father Mesure and to Msgr. Francis A. Carbine, the pastor emeritus who is a former seminary professor of Msgr. Duncan. “They’re both a difficult act to follow,” he said.

A native of Philadelphia, Msgr. Duncan was raised in St. Barnabas Parish in Southwest Philadelphia. He is the second of two sons of Joseph and Doris Duncan, now of St. Laurence Parish in Highland Park, Delaware County.

He graduated from St. Mary of Czestochowa School in Southwest Philadelphia in 1977 and from West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys in 1981 before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood in the fall of 1981.

He was ordained May 20, 1989 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul by then-Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua and named a monsignor March 24, 2003, by Pope John Paul II.

Assignments have also included parochial vicar of Our Lady of Peace Parish, Milmont Park, Delaware County, 1993 to 1996; associate to the vicar in the archdiocesan Office of the Vicar for Administration, 1996 to 2004; and parochial administrator of the now-closed St. Stanislaus Parish in South Philadelphia from 2002 to 2004.

Msgr. Duncan was named pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Springfield in June 2004.

“I have been so deeply moved by the dedication, zeal and support of the people of Holy Cross,” Msgr. Duncan said of the parish and school. “They have a great love for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, a great love for our Lady, a great love for the entire Church. I can only hope that I have served them as well as they deserve.”

Msgr. Duncan has also served as a member of the archdiocesan Interparochial Cooperation Commission, the Catholic Health Care Review Board and the board of directors of the Pastors’ Committee for Catholic Schools; as a regional director of the Catholic Youth Organization in Bucks County, as an auditor in the archdiocesan Office of the Metropolitan Tribunal and as a priest vocation coordinator for Delaware County.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or