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Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Francis J. Christian of Manchester

February 1, 2018

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Francis Joseph Christian, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, for reasons of age. He has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

Bishop Christian's retirement was publicized in Washington, February 1, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

Francis J. Christian was born October 8, 1942 in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He attended St. Anselm College, Manchester, St. Paul Seminary, Ottawa, and the American College in Louvain, Belgium, earning his bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1964, his master's degree in Theology in 1968, and a doctoral degree in Religious Studies with a specialization in Moral Theology in 1975.

He was ordained a priest by Bishop Ernest J. Primeau, the sixth bishop of Manchester, for the Diocese of Manchester on June 29, 1968, at St. Patrick Church, Jaffrey, NH. 

Assignments after ordination include: assistant pastor, Our Lady of Mercy, Merrimack, 1968-1971; assistant pastor, St. Joseph Cathedral, Manchester, 1971-1972; post graduate student, Louvain, Ph.D. in Moral Theology, 1972-1975; Vice Chancellor, Diocese of Manchester, 1975-1977; Chancellor, Diocese of Manchester, 1977-1986; Secretary for Administrative/Canonical Affairs, 1986-1996. In 1986, Pope John Paul II named Bishop Christian a prelate of honor, which includes the title "Monsignor."

On April 2, 1996, Pope John Paul II appointed then-Monsignor Francis Christian as Auxiliary Bishop of Manchester and Titular Bishop of Quincy. He was ordained a bishop on May 14, 1996 at St. Joseph Cathedral by Bishop Leo E. O'Neil. 

The Diocese of Manchester comprises 9,305 square miles. It has a total population of 1,334,795 people of which 254,594, or 19 percent, are Catholic.

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Auxiliary Bishop Francis J. Christian, Diocese of Manchester, Bishop 


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