Pope Francis Appoints Robert J. Brennan as 12th Bishop of Columbus
The Vatican announced on Thursday, January 31 that Pope Francis has appointed the Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Center, New York, as the 12th Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus and has accepted the resignation of the Most. Rev. Frederick F. Campbell.
As required by the Church’s Code of Canon Law, bishops are requested to submit their resignation to the pope on reaching the age of 75. As such, Bishop Campbell submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Francis last year.
“I thank all the clergy and faithful that I have had the pleasure to lead during my tenure here in Columbus,” Bishop Campbell said. “I am sure the people of our Diocese will welcome Bishop Brennan to Central Ohio and extend to him all of the courtesies and prayerful support I have enjoyed. Each bishop brings his own specific talents and gifts to their ministry, and I have every confidence that Bishop Brennan will use his special gifts to serve as a good and faithful shepherd of our Diocese. I ask all to pray for Bishop Brennan as he begins this new journey.”
“It makes me incredible happy to walk this journey with you, to lead the Church of Columbus, to serve as your Pastor,” Bishop Brennan said. “I look forward to walking the journey with you as your pastor sharing the ‘Joy of the Gospel’ and the ‘Splendor of Truth.’ And if we can laugh, and sing, and raise our voices in praise of God along the way, then all the better. I am already praying fervently for the Church of Columbus every day. May I humbly ask your prayers for me.”
The Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan was born June 7, 1962, in the Bronx, New York. The oldest of five children, Bishop Brennan has two brothers, two sisters, and 14 nieces and nephews. He was raised in Lindenhurst, New York, where his parents still reside. He attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School and Saint John the Baptist Diocesan High School, West Islip, New York, and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science from Saint John’s University, Queens, New York.
He studied for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre by the Most Rev. John R. McGann on May 27, 1989. He was first assigned to the Church of Saint Patrick in Smithtown, New York, and was later appointed Secretary to the Bishop. He was named Prelate of Honor to His Holiness Pope John Paul II, with the title of monsignor, in 1996.
In 2002, he was named vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and in 2010 he was named pastor of the Church of Saint Mary of the Isle, Long Beach, New York, a post he held until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop in 2012. He served on the board of directors for Catholic Health Services of Long Island, the Bishop’s Advisory Committee for Catholic Education, as well as several other diocesan boards. He also served as chaplain for the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Nassau County and says Mass regularly for the Dominican Sisters of Amityville. Bishop Brennan speaks Spanish and works closely with the Latino community. He often celebrates Mass in Spanish, including Mass in the Nassau County Correctional Facility.
The Most Rev. Frederick F. Campbell, D.D., Ph.D., is a native of Elmira, New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and foreign language from Saint Lawrence University, Canton, New York, and obtained his master’s degree and doctorate in history from The Ohio State University. Prior to entering the seminary in 1976, he served as a history professor at the Pontifical College Josephinum and as an assistant professor of history at California State College in San Bernardino.
After studying at the Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis by the Most Rev. John R. Roach on May 31, 1980. Campbell served as an associate pastor and pastor in the Archdiocese until Pope John Paul II named him Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 1999. He was appointed the 11th Bishop of Columbus October 14, 2004, by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. He was installed at Columbus’ St. Joseph Cathedral on January 13, 2005.
In July 2002, Bishop Campbell became rector and vice president of the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. He also served as chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on the Diaconate from 2004 to 2006. Among his many community involvements, Bishop Campbell sits on the boards of Ohio Dominican University, Mother Angeline McCrory Manor, the Catholic Foundation, the Kinder Women’s Care Center, and the Pontifical College Josephinum, where he is the Vice Chancellor.
The formal installation of Bishop Brennan as Bishop of Columbus has been scheduled for Friday, March 29, at St. Joseph Cathedral. In the interim, Bishop Campbell will serve as apostolic administrator of the Diocese until the official transfer of authority to Bishop Brennan.
A Word from Our New Bishop
Driving on the Long Island Expressway on Saturday, January 19th, I received a call from Archbishop Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio, with the happy news that the Holy Father had appointed me Bishop of Columbus. [He asked me if I was alone, then if I needed to pull over!] I was going from one event to another and leaving the next morning for World Youth Day in Panama. [It was a little warmer there than we have it here today!] World Youth Day was incredible, being with the Holy Father and 700,000 young people from around the world. There was such exuberance and great faith. Along the streets of Panama City one could see group after group of young pilgrims. Inevitably, one or two people would lead the group waving large flags. There would be joyful singing and cheers. Groups would cry out to one another. It was amazing to watch and uplifting to walk in the midst of a group making their way. Looking more closely, you might see how within the groups people traded pins and stickers, and helped and encouraged one another on the way, especially when it became long or difficult. [At one point, a crowd of people awaiting the Holy Father to pass by in the Pope Mobile actually lifted up a fellow in a wheel chair so that he might see. That image created a great storm on social media.] It was all about connection, encounter: encounter with pilgrims around the world, encounter with the Holy Father, and encounter with Jesus Christ Himself. Looking through the lens of the new call of the Lord for me, I was struck by the image: People of faith and hope, walking together encouraging one another with the “Joy of the Gospel,” helping one another on the way, leading each other to the encounter with Jesus Christ. Isn’t that what we are all about? It makes me incredibly happy to walk this journey with you, to lead the Church of Columbus, to serve as your Pastor. Until this week, I didn’t really know Bishop Campbell all that well. But I have already experienced his great kindness and really look forward to being part of what he has built here with you in the Diocese of Columbus. Bishop Campbell – I am tremendously grateful. Clearly I have an awful lot to learn – I assure you. [Yes, I have looked at the website once or twice!] And I must confess I am more than a little nervous. But I look forward to walking the journey with you as your pastor sharing the “Joy of the Gospel” and the “Splendor of Truth”. And if we can laugh, and sing and raise our voices in praise of God along the way, then all the better. I am already praying fervently for the Church of Columbus every day.
May I humbly ask your prayers for me.
Bishop Robert Brennan
About Our New Bishop More about Bishop Brennan ( from Bishop Barres, current bishop of Rockville Center)
Bishop-Designate Robert Brennan has a blend of holiness, missionary fire, humility, intelligence and pastoral experience that will serve the mission of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Columbus in an extraordinary way. Bishop Brennan dedicated himself as a young priest to learning Spanish and he has been a beloved leader of our diverse Hispanic community on Long Island helping to shepherd the community through the tragic experience of gang violence and constantly advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. He was part of a USCCB delegation of Bishops that visited the Texas-Mexico Border in July 2018 and supported so many people and ministries during the visit. Bishop Brennan has been a champion of Catholic Education on Long Island and nationally and sees the Catholic Education experience as a critical component of the New Evangelization that requires an intentional and strategic approach to Catholic identity and mission, academic excellence, enrollment and retention, marketing and advancement, and board development. Bishop Brennan has served for many years on the Board of Catholic Health Services of Long Island. His commitment to the healing mission of the Catholic Church has been expressed in his integral strategic leadership of Catholic health care and commitment to the Catholic principles, moral theology and Catholic Social Justice teaching that drive the mission. Bishop Brennan was at the heart of a group that planned the St. Charles Borromeo seminary partnership between the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre. He has a passion for seminary formation and vocation recruitment and will be a great asset in serving the mission of the Pontifical Josephinum Seminary and College. Bishop Brennan has a great love for University Campus ministry and has mentored many priests, campus ministers and university students on Long Island. He was instrumental in bringing the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) to Stony Brook University. We cannot wait to hear about his evangelizing efforts and pastoral presence at The Ohio State University and the other university campuses in the Diocese of Columbus.
Bishop Brennan above all is a loving pastor and humble Gospel servant with an insightful, intelligent and compassionate pastoral charity and a non-stop New Evangelization missionary spirit.
The Church of the Diocese of Rockville Center expresses its solidarity and prayers with Bishop Brennan and the Diocese of Columbus as we rejoice together and give thanks to the Holy Spirit and to Pope Francis for this historic appointment.