Pope Francis chooses next bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh

Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama (Carleigh Griffeth/CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Pope Francis has chosen the next bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, the church announced Wednesday morning.

Pope Francis announced that Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama, an auxilary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta will serve at the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory (Archbishop of Atlanta) issued a statement regarding to assignment of Bishop Zarama.

Pope Francis in today’s appointment has honored the Archdiocese of Atlanta with the gift of Bishop Luis R. Zarama to become the new Bishop of Raleigh. How fortunate that local Church is to receive such a devoted and generous servant minister. The Holy Father has chosen well even though his decision takes a deeply beloved brother and friend from our midst.”

Bishop Zarama’s installation will occur at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral on Aug. 29, according to the church.

The Diocese of Raleigh’s previous bishop, Michael Burbidge, was assigned to the Diocese of Arlington in Virginia in October 2016.

Bishop Burbidge also released a statement on Bishop Zarama.

I give thanks to God for the appointment of Bishop Luis Zarama as the Sixth Bishop of Raleigh. I am proud to call him a brother bishop and good friend. Bishop Zarama is a holy, faithful and joyful bishop known and respected for his pastoral skills, administrative abilities, zeal and kindness. I have assured Bishop Zarama that he will be truly blessed with the support of such good priests, consecrated religious, deacons, seminarians, colleagues and lay faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh. I promised Bishop Zarama that he and the Diocese of Raleigh will remain in my daily prayers at this joyful and historic moment and always.”

Bishop Designate Zarama said at an introductory press conference Wednesday that, “The Holy Father has choose me to come here. I didn’t choose that. Why that happened, I don’t have any idea. But I am so grateful to God because of this opportunity.”

Zarama will be installed on Aug. 29 and Bishop Burbidge will be overseeing the dedication of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral on July 26 in Raleigh.

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