WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco and named Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., to succeed him.
The appointment and resignation were announced in Washington July 27 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Archbishop Niederauer, 76, had headed the San Francisco Archdiocese since 2005. A priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, he also served as bishop of Salt Lake City for 10 years.
Archbishop Cordileone, a 56-year-old native of San Diego, was an auxiliary bishop in that diocese from 2002 until his 2009 appointment as bishop of Oakland.
On the national level, he is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage and a member of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. He has served on the bishops' Task Force on Cultural Diversity and currently is on the Religious Liberty Committee of the California Catholic Conference.
He will be installed as the ninth archbishop of San Francisco during a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of the archdiocese.
Archbishop Niederauer welcomed his successor and assured him “of our prayers, loyalty, support and cooperation, as well as our friendship and affection.”
At a morning news conference in San Francisco, Archbishop Cordileone said he was humbled by the confidence the pope has shown in him with the appointment.
“As the old saying goes, 'God writes straight with crooked lines,' and I trust that, even with my limitations and shortcomings, God's will is being accomplished in the midst of this unexpected call in my service to the church,” he said in a statement released in English and Spanish.
He expressed gratitude to the Catholics of the Oakland Diocese and recalled “such gracious hospitality” by the priests, religious and laity when he arrived there.
“I regret that my time among them as the pastor of that local church was so brief,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “The East Bay is a place rich in diversity and cultural and spiritual vibrancy, and I was so looking forward to continuing to build on these resources with so many of my valued collaborators by tapping into the creative energy that has always characterized the Diocese of Oakland.”
“To all of the wonderful priests and priestly people of the Oakland Diocese, please know that I love you and will continue to hold you in prayer and remain grateful for all you have taught me about what it takes to be a leader in the church today,” he added.
He said he looked forward “to assuming my new pastoral responsibilities with and for the priests and people of the Archdiocese of San Francisco,” and thanked Archbishop Niederauer “for the support he has always shown me.”
The Catholic Church of San Francisco “has a tremendous legacy of Catholic ministries and participation in the local community for serving the common good,” he continued. “While assuming the pastoral care of a local church as its bishop is always a daunting challenge, I am encouraged by the history we have to build upon.”
He said he felt confident that “with much prayer and hard work, and with the grace of God, we will, together, be able to further the new evangelization in this corner of the world we call home.”
On behalf of his archdiocese, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez congratulated the newly named archbishop on his appointment.
He said he looked forwarded to continuing to work with San Francisco's new shepherd “and all the Catholic bishops of California to strengthen the faith of our Catholic people and to help build a more just society for all who live in the Golden State.”
Salvatore Cordileone was born in San Diego June 5, 1956. He graduated from Crawford High School in 1974 and from the University of San Diego in 1978, with a degree in philosophy. He studied for the priesthood at the Pontifical North American College and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He has a bachelor's degree in sacred theology, and a licentiate and doctorate in canon law.
He was ordained a priest for the San Diego Diocese July 9, 1982, by Bishop Leo T. Maher. After ordination, he was associate pastor at St. Martin of Tours Parish in La Mesa, Calif., for three years.
In 1991, then-Father Cordileone, who is fluent in Italian and Spanish, became pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Calexio, Calif., a town on the U.S.-Mexican border. He served there four years.
From 1995 to 2002, he was an official of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in Rome. He was named a monsignor in 1999. In July 2002, he was named auxiliary bishop of San Diego by Pope John Paul II.
Archbishop Cordileone has been chairman of the Corporate Board of Catholic Charities and was a member of the University of San Diego board of trustees, serving on its Academic Affairs and Mission and Vision Committees.
He likes jazz music and plays the saxophone. He enjoys swimming and watching football and baseball.
The San Francisco Archdiocese has a Catholic population of more than a half million Catholics in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties. It has 416 priests, 90 deacons and 675 women religious. There are 91 parishes with 11 missions, 60 elementary schools, 18 pre-schools and 14 high schools.