Bishop Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Samuel J. Aquila as archbishop for the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver.
Archbishop Aquila, 61, has Colorado roots and spent many years serving the Denver Archdiocese before being appointed bishop of the Diocese of Fargo, N.D., in 2001. Ordained June 5, 1976, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, he has been a priest for 36 years.
Parishes where Archbishop Aquila served include St. Mary Parish in Colorado Springs in the Diocese of Colorado Springs, Christ the King Parish in Denver, and Guardian Angels Parish in Denver. He was also the first rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver from 1999-2001.
“It is a tremendous blessing to be able to return to the particular Church where I was ordained and to a place that I consider home because I lived there the majority of my life and served in the priesthood there,” Archbishop Aquila said. “When I left Denver in 2001 to serve the Diocese of Fargo I never imagined that I would return one day as archbishop … yet it is all part of God’s plan.”
Archbishop Aquila will succeed Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Denver’s archbishop from 1997 until being named archbishop of Philadelphia last July. He will be the eighth bishop and fifth archbishop of Denver.
Archbishop Aquila was born Sept. 24, 1950, in Burbank, Calif.
Following his 1976 ordination in Denver, he was in parish ministry for 11 years, then moved to Rome for three years to study. In 1990 he returned to Denver where he served as director of the Office of Liturgy, as well as in positions in Catholic Education and Social Concerns, before being named seminary rector. In 2001, he was named Coadjutor Bishop of Fargo, N.D., and in 2002 he became the Bishop of Fargo. Archbishop Aquila holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a master’s degree in theology from St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, and a licentiate in sacramental theology from San Anselmo University in Rome.
“I very much look forward to returning to Denver to serve as the archbishop,” he said. “I realize that many things have changed in the last 11 years, yet the bonds of faith and the bonds of friendship remain because they are founded on Christ.”