Pope Francis appoints new bishop of Charlotte, North Carolina — By: Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Diocese of Charlotte Bishop Joseph Jugis (left) and appointed Monsignor Michael Martin, OFM Conv, to take his place, the Vatican announced April 9, 2024. / Credit: Diocese of Charlotte

CNA Staff, Apr 9, 2024 / 10:40 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, Bishop Joseph Jugis and appointed a new prelate to take his place, the Vatican announced on Tuesday.

The Holy Father “has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Charlotte, United States of America, presented by Bishop Peter Joseph Jugis,” the Holy See Press Office said in an announcement.

Jugis, 67, had served as the bishop there since 2003. The Charlotte bishopric encompasses about 20,000 square miles and includes more than 500,000 Catholics.

The Vatican said 63-year-old Monsignor Michael Martin, OFM Conv, had been appointed to replace Jugis as the leader of the southern U.S. diocese. Martin, a Baltimore native, was ordained a priest in 1989 and has served at a variety of roles in New York, Maryland, and North Carolina, including as the director of the Duke University Catholic Center.

He was most recently a parish priest of St. Philip Benizi in Jonesboro, Georgia.

The Catholic News Herald, the official newspaper of the Charlotte Diocese, said in an announcement that Jugis had retired “due to health limitations.”

“Bishop Jugis submitted his request for retirement to Rome last June, saying a chronic but non-life-threatening kidney condition made it difficult for him to preside over lengthy liturgies and travel across the 46 counties of the expansive diocese,” the News Herald said.

Jugis “will serve as administrator of the diocese until May when Bishop-elect Martin is installed,” the newspaper said, after which he “will continue to assist the diocese as bishop emeritus.”

Martin told the newspaper that he was “amazed and humbled that the Holy Father has faith in me to call me to serve the people of western North Carolina.”

“I am excited to get to know you and to listen to the ways in which together we can respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to be disciples of Jesus,” he said.

Jugis, meanwhile, said in the report that “as difficult as it is for me to leave this position that I love, I am confident that God has a plan in bringing us Bishop-elect Martin, and I will do everything I can to support his ministry.”

“It has truly been the joy of a lifetime to serve as bishop for the people of our diocese, and I believe Bishop-elect Martin will find that to be true for him as he gets to know the faithful of our diocese and sees firsthand our many ministries that are dedicated to sharing the love of Christ in our communities,” Jugis said.

The News Herald said last year that the diocese has witnessed “unprecedented growth” over the last few decades.

In 2019, confirmations in the diocese topped 5,000 for the first time. In 2023, meanwhile, diocesan schools posted record enrollment of more than 8,000 students.

Over the course of Jugins’ bishopric, the number of Catholics in the diocese “more than doubled to an estimated 530,000,” the News Herald reported.

The diocese recently announced, meanwhile, that it would build a new cathedral in Charlotte, having outgrown the original cathedral built in 1939.

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