On behalf of the priests, deacons, seminarians, consecrated religious and lay men and women in all our parishes and institutions, I joyfully welcome Bishop Thomas Paprocki as the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. It has been my pleasure to serve as Diocesan Administrator during these last several months and to assist the Diocese in preparing for our next bishop. We are grateful to God, to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and to Francis Cardinal George for choosing such a gifted and dedicated priest and bishop to serve us. We are most grateful to Bishop Paprocki for accepting this appointment. Together, we pledge our prayers, support and loving cooperation to him in the ongoing work of proclaiming the Gospel. Welcome Bishop Paprocki and may your service here in our Diocese bear much fruit and bring you great joy.The Diocese has also recently a statement from Bishop Paprocki on his appointment:
President Abraham Lincoln has been a hero of mine since my first visit to Springfield when I was in eighth grade. In a speech given in Springfield on January 27, 1838, Abraham Lincoln said, “We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducting more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings.”
It is indeed a “fundamental blessing” which I am profoundly privileged to inherit as the new shepherd of the flock that comprises the Catholic community of central Illinois. I am deeply grateful for the confidence shown by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in appointing me to serve as the ninth Bishop of Springfield in Illinois. I look forward to working with the priests, deacons, men and women religious, the lay Christian faithful and all people of good will here in our State Capital to carry out the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ to proclaim the Gospel. I pledge to do my best with the help of God’s grace to build on the “fundamental blessings” established through the dedicated ministry of the previous bishops of Springfield, especially my immediate predecessor, the Most Reverend George Lucas, now Archbishop of Omaha.
I also wish to express my sincere appreciation to my fellow priests and bishops of the Archdiocese of Chicago with whom I have been fortunate to work for the past thirty-two years. Most of all, I thank His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I, Archbishop of Chicago, for being a true mentor over the past thirteen years during which I was privileged to serve as his Chancellor, as a parish Pastor and as his Auxiliary Bishop. I am pleased that we will continue to be co-workers in the vineyard of the State of Illinois that comprises the Province of Chicago. May God who has begun this good work bring it to completion.