Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Fort Worth, Texas has been named the fourth bishop of Orange, Calif. by Pope Benedict XVI.
Bishop Vann will succeed Bishop Tod D. Brown, who offered his resignation to Pope Benedict earlier this year upon reaching the age limit of 75.
“I am truly blessed to be here with all of you now as the fourth bishop of the diocese,” Bishop Vann said at a Sept. 21 press conference in Orange, Calif.
He explained that it is “a time of transition in my own life,” because of his mother’s death earlier this summer and his appointment to a new diocese.
And while the Fort Worth and Orange dioceses “have many similarities,” Bishop Vann said that the “welcome, warmth and vibrant faith” he has seen “is a blessing and great encouragement to me.”
“I promise that as we grow together in this exciting and dynamic time for the Diocese of Orange, I will love you and do my best to serve you, with the Lord’s help. That is one thing I learned in Fort Worth, and what I will live here,” he stated.
The appointment and resignation were both announced Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C. by Archbishop Carlo M. Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Vann will shepherd the nation’s tenth largest and fastest growing diocese. He will be assisted in his governance of the diocese by Bishop Dominic M. Luong, who has been auxiliary in Orange since 2003.
The diocese’s total population is 3.2 million, of whom 41 percent, or 1.3 million, are Catholic.
Bishop Brown recently purchased the famous Crystal Cathedral from an evangelical church, and it will become the cathedral and chancery of Orange as Christ Cathedral.
Bishop Vann was introduced to the diocese at 11:30 local time this morning at the Marywood Pastoral Center.
Bishop Vann was born in Springfield, Ill. in 1951 and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Springfield in 1981.
He earned a doctorate in canon law from the Angelicum in 1985, and subsequently served as both a pastor and on the tribunal of the diocese. He was named coadjutor bishop of Fort Worth in 2005, and assumed the helm later that year.
Bishop Brown was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno in 1963 and has been Bishop of Orange for 14 years.
“Bishop Vann enjoys an enviable record of success and I am exceedingly pleased by his appointment as my episcopal successor,” Bishop Brown remarked, noting that “much work remains to be done” in the diocese.
“This work will require an administrator with proven skills and a spiritual leader with an abundance of faith. Bishop Kevin Vann has these attributes and much more,” he said.
Archbishop Vigano also made public that Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Bishop Matthew H. Clark of the Rochester diocese, who also became 75 this year.
The Rochester diocese will be led by an apostolic administrator, Bishop Robert J. Cunnningham of Syracuse, until the Pope appoints a new bishop.
Updated at Sept. 21, 2012 at 1:48 p.m. MST. New version includes remarks from Bishops Vann and Brown throughout.