Reverend James M. Oliver has been named a monsignor by Pope Francis with the title Chaplain of His Holiness, the archdiocese announced Wed., Jan. 24.
Priests receive this honor directly from the Pope in recognition of their contributions to the local and/or Universal Church through the distinguished exercise of their priestly ministry. This honor is a symbol of the deep communion with the Holy Father, his apostolic ministry, and the Papal household.
“This is a moment of great joy for the Church in Philadelphia. Monsignor Oliver has distinguished himself through many decades of exceptional and faithful priestly service to our Church, both locally and on a global level,” Archbishop Pérez said in a statement. “He serves the temporal and pastoral needs of God’s people with great love and apostolic zeal. I am deeply grateful to our Holy Father for bestowing this honor upon him.”
>>SEE RELATED: What’s the difference between a priest and a monsignor?
Reverend Monsignor James M. Oliver was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on October 5, 1959. He is the second of six sons born to Joseph M. Oliver and Beverly A. Pearsons. Shortly after his birth his family moved to South Acton, Massachusetts where he was baptized at Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Church on April 3, 1960. After two other moves, both within the state of Connecticut, the family settled in Springfield (Delaware County), Pennsylvania (1965). Monsignor Oliver grew up as a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Morton. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1977.
After attending Pennsylvania State University (Delaware County Campus), he completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. After teaching elementary school for one year, he entered Saint Charles Seminary in September 1983 where he earned a Master of Divinity in 1987 and a Master of Arts in Theology in 1988. He was ordained a priest on May 21, 1988, by Cardinal Anthony Bevilaqua.
After ordination Monsignor Oliver served in a number of capacities including Parochial Vicar, Saint Alphonsus Parish, Maple Glen (1988-1993), Chaplain, Bishop McDevitt High School (1988-1990); and Advocate, Office of the Metropolitan Tribunal (1990-1993).
He was assigned to further studies in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1993. He graduated with a Doctorate in Canon Law in 1999. Following the completion of these studies, Monsignor Oliver served as Vice Chancellor and Assistant Professor of Canon Law at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary (1999-2004); Assistant to the Vicar for Clergy (2004-2007); Promoter of Justice (2003-2018); Canonical Notary, Office of the Vicar for Clergy (2004-2018); Vice Chancellor, Archdiocese of Philadelphia (2005-2018); and Assistant Vicar for Clergy (2011-2018).
In February 2018, at the request of the Holy See, Monsignor Oliver was assigned to serve the Vatican’s Dicastery for Clergy in Rome. He remains in service there at this time.
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