Washington — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and appointed as his successor Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Barres, 56, has headed the Diocese of Allentown since 2009. Murphy, who has been Rockville Centre's bishop since 2001, is 76. Canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope when they turn 75.
The changes were announced Dec. 9 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Barres' Mass of installation will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Agnes in Rockville Centre Jan. 31. Until that time, Murphy will serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese.
"It is my deep conviction that he will be a bishop for all of us without exception," Murphy said of his successor in a statement. "He has shared with me his love of youth and his care for the elderly. He has a keen sense of parish life and has a special expertise in education. He has a deep love for the poor."
Barres will support Catholic Charities, parish outreach as well as Catholic hospitals, he added.
Murphy also said Rockville Centre's new bishop "will be a good neighbor to our brothers and sisters" in other Christian denominations as well as members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, and the many civic and political leaders with whom the church works "in building up Long Island for future generations."
He described Barres as "a man of prayer" above all.
Born in Larchmont, New York, Sept. 20, 1960, Barres was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, Oct. 21, 1989. On May 27, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of Allentown. He was installed as that diocese's fourth bishop July 30, 2009.