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WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Blase Cupich, 61, of Rapid City, South Dakota, to the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, and accepted the resignation of Bishop William Skylstad, 76, from pastoral governance of the diocese.
The announcement was made in Washington, June 30, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Cupich, who has been Bishop of Rapid City since 1998, was born March 19, 1949. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota; and did further studies at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1975.
He earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from The Catholic University of America in 1987.
After ordination he served in parishes in the Omaha Archdiocese and, from 1981-1987, was secretary at the apostolic nunciature in Washington. He was president/rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, 1989-1996.
As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop Cupich served on the Subcommittee on the Translation of Scripture Text and was a member of the Task Force on Promotion of Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. He currently chairs the Committee on Protection of Children and Young People.
Bishop Skylstad has headed the Diocese of Spokane since 1990. He was named Bishop of Yakima, Washington, in 1977.
He was born in Omak, Washington, March 2, 1934. He graduated from the Pontifical College Josephinum and was ordained for the Spokane Diocese in 1960. He later studied education and mathematics at Washington State and Gonzaga Universities and holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Gonzaga.
Bishop Skylstad was president of the USCCB, 2004-2007, and vice-president, 2001-2004. He also served as chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Social Development and the Ad Hoc Committee on Bishops’ Life and Ministry. He also was a member of the bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, the Committee on Science and Human Values and the Task Force on Faith Formation and Sacramental Practice.
The Spokane Diocese has 24,356 square miles and 780,696 people, of whom 13 percent, or 99,363, are Catholic.
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