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Statement from Monsignor Kemme

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Good morning. Thank you all for being here today for this historic event in the life of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Slightly more than 10 months ago with the appointment of Bishop George Lucas to the

Archdiocese of Omaha, our diocese began to prepare and pray for the appointment of a new bishop. Today, our prayers have been answered. This morning Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Thomas Paprocki, until now auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago, as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Bishop Paprocki was born on August 5, 1952. He is one of nine children, born and raised in Chicago. Bishop Paprocki attended St. Casimir grade school, Quigley Seminary South for High School, Niles College of Loyola University and the University of St. Mary of the Lake, in Mundelein, Illinois. Bishop Paprocki was ordained to the priesthood on May 10, 1978. After ordination, he pursued advance degrees in civil law at Depaul University College of law in Chicago and in canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he earned both the licenciate and doctoral degrees. Bishop Paprocki served as parish priest, administrator and pastor in the Arch diocese of Chicago as well as Vice Chancellor, Chancellor, and Episcopal Vicar. Bishop Paprocki was ordained bishop on March 19, 2003 in Chicago.

Bishop Paprocki, on behalf of the 131 parishes in the 28 counties of this local church, on behalf of all our priests, deacons, consecrated religious and nearly 150,000 faithful, it is my pleasure to welcome you and to pledge to you our esteem and gratitude as well as the support of our prayers as you come to make your home with us as our bishop. We know you will soon come to love your new home and the people God has called you to serve with your Episcopal leadership.

Today, as you come to our fair city and this diocese, we would like to present you with two gifts, both representing some very important people in our lives: The first is an icon of the Blessed Mother, commissioned in honor of the Diocese's sesquicentennial in 2003, the original now hanging in our beloved Cathedral, the icon of Mary, Mother of Life giving springs.

And knowing your great admiration for and knowledge of Abraham Lincoln, a photo of him to grace your office or home, for you now shepherd the diocese and the capital city which he called home and where he has been placed to rest. And in the words of Abraham Lincoln: Whatever you are, be a good one. We are sure you will be a good bishop for us. And now please welcome Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki.

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