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Bishop William Lori Leaving Bridgeport Diocese

William Lori, since 2001 the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, which covers Fairfield County, is leaving the diocese to take over as archbishop of the Baltimore Archdiocese.

Update 2:06 p.m.:

Bishop William Lori, who has led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport since 2001, is leaving to become archbishop of the Baltimore Archdiocese.

Lori's official installation as archbishop of Baltimore is scheduled for May 16. Pope Benedict XVI made the appointment. Baltimore is the nation's oldest diocese and has 504,000 Catholics in 150 parishes. The Bridgeport Diocese is not much smaller, with about 400,000 in 87 parishes.

Lori will succeed Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, who served as Baltimore’s archbishop from October 2007 until his retirement in August 2011.

"The very thought of serving and leading the nation's premier see fills me with joy and also with profound gratitude, first and foremost to the Lord who shepherds His people in love," Lori said in a news release posted on the Bridgeport Diocese's website. 

“I am grateful to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI who has entrusted to me the stewardship of this great and historic Archdiocese and to Cardinal O'Brien, Cardinal Keeler, and their predecessors stretching back to Archbishop John Carroll.

The news release does not quote Lori speaking about his service in Fairfield County, although it describes his accomplishments in the diocese.

In 2004, Lori started a major restructuring of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s 37 Catholic schools, with a student population of 11,000, according to the news release.

"Changes in governance, funding and curriculum have led to a resurgence in the diocesan school system, most notably in nearly a third of their schools receiving the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon designation, a recognition that diocesan student scores rank in the top 10 percent of all schools, public or private, across the nation."

Lori also emphasized getting more men to enter the priesthood, according to the news release. A total of 35 men entered the priesthood in the diocese during Lori's tenure, with 39 more currently studying to be priests.

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News of the appointment was published in Baltimore as early as 7:30 this morning by the Baltimore Sun. Lori appeared at a Baltimore news conference this morning, as well, according to a report in the Connecticut Post.

Lori, 60, was installed as the fourth bishop of the Bridgeport Diocese on March 19, 2001, almost exactly 11 years ago according to the diocese website.

He is a native of Louisville, KY, and received his master’s degree from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD.

Lori has long had ties to the Washington, DC, area, close to Baltimore. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington in 1977, and his first assignment was as associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Landover, MD.

He later served as secretary to Cardinal James Hickey, chancellor, moderator of the Curia and Vicar General. Lori was ordained a bishop in 1995 by Pope John Paul II. Before he was named bishop of the Bridgeport Diocese, Lori served as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington.

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