Mass Catholic Conference

Pope accepts resignation of Maine bishop, names Rhode Island pastor as successor

WASHINGTON (OSV News) — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, and appointed as his successor Father James T. Ruggieri, a pastor in the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island.

Bishop Deeley has headed the statewide diocese just one day shy of 10 years: He was installed as Portland’s 12th bishop Feb. 14, 2014, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. Bishop Deeley is 77; canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope when they turn 75.

Bishop-designate Ruggieri, 56, is currently pastor of St. Patrick Parish and St. Michael Parish in Providence. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Providence June 24, 1995.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington Feb. 13 by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The Diocese of Portland covers the state of Maine. It has a total population of nearly 1.4 million, of whom 286,095 are Catholic.