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Pope Francis appoints Fr. John Dolan as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego

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April 19, 2017
SAN DIEGO – The Vatican Press Office today announced that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Fr. John P. Dolan, the current pastor of St. John the Evangelist parish in Hillcrest, as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of San Diego.  He will take up his duties June 8, following his episcopal ordination at St. Therese of Carmel in Del Mar.
 
Bishop Robert McElroy noted two central characteristics of Father Dolan's priesthood: the great love which he has for the priests and the people of God, and the intensely joyful spirit that permeates his life and mission.
 
 "Our local church," Bishop McElroy said, "will be deeply blessed by these gifts in Bishop-Elect Dolan's new episcopal role of leadership, sacrifice and prayerful service."
 
McElroy’s comments came this morning during Bishop-Elect Dolan’s introduction to staff and family at the diocesan Pastoral Center.
 
As an auxiliary bishop, Bishop-Elect Dolan will assist Bishop McElroy in the operation and management of the diocese and in the performance of sacramental duties, such as confirmations.  Bishop McElroy remains in charge of the diocese.
 
Bishop-Elect Dolan begins his new duties at a time when the Diocese is implementing innovative initiatives to strengthen local Catholic families and their communities. One of these grew out of a historic synod held last fall to develop ways to strengthen marriage and families and to welcome and support youth and young adults. Another offers leadership development opportunities for local Catholic school administrators, in partnership with the University of San Diego. And still another is providing vital resources to immigrants and refugees in light of changes at the federal level.
 
Dolan, 54, grew up in the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego, and was ordained to the priesthood on July 1, 1989 by Bishop Leo T. Maher at San Rafael Parish in Rancho Bernardo.  He is a near-fluent Spanish speaker.
 
One of nine children born to Gerald and Catherine Dolan, he was educated in local Catholic schools at St. Mary Magdalene Parish and University High School, before attending St. Francis Seminary and the University of San Diego, where he received a B.A. in Philosophy.  He continued his studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, CA, where he earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree, along with a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Theology.
 
“I am profoundly grateful to his Holiness Pope Francis for this honor,” said Bishop-Elect Dolan.  “I look forward to accompanying Bishop McElroy in his ministry to this beautiful diocese in which I have witnessed the presence of God's love continually for the whole of my life.”
 
Dolan has served as a priest in the Diocese of San Diego for 27 years.  He began as an associate at St. Michael’s Parish in Paradise Hills before going on to Santa Sophia Parish in Spring Valley.  He served 12 years as pastor at St. Rose of Lima in Chula Vista and 5 years as pastor at St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Oceanside.  
 
Most recently, he has served as Vicar for Clergy at the Pastoral Center, where he oversees the assignment of priests and clergy at the 98 parishes in the diocese and as Pastor at St. John the Evangelist and St. Vincent De Paul in Mission Hills/Hillcrest.  He will continue in those roles.  
 
The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego (www.sdcatholic.org) runs the length of California’s border with Mexico and serves more than 1.3 million Catholics in San Diego and Imperial Counties. It includes 98 parishes, 49 elementary and secondary schools, and, through Catholic Charities of the Diocese of San Diego (www.ccdsd.org), various social service and family support organizations throughout the region.  It also includes five historic sites, the most well known of which is the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, the first mission established in California by St. Junipero Serra in 1769.