WASHINGTON (March 31, 1997) --
Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United
States, has announced that Coadjutor Bishop Roberto O. Gonzalez, OFM,
of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas, will become the Diocesan
Bishop on the occasion of the resignation of Bishop Rene H. Gracida
on April 1.
Pope John Paul II has accepted the resignation of Bishop Gracida according to the norms of Canon 401, #2, which provides for resignation due to ill health or other reasons. A coadjutor bishop automatically becomes the diocesan bishop on the retirement of his predecessor. Roberto Octavio Gonzalez was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on June 2, 1950. He received his elementary education at Academia Santa Monica in Santurce, Puerto Rico, after which he attended St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, New York. He also studied at Siena College in Loudonville, New York.
Accepted as an affiliate of the Franciscan Order at Christ House in Lafayette, New Jersey, in 1970, he professed first vows in 1972 in St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Father Gonzalez earned a Master's degree in Sacred Theology at the Washington Theological Coalition in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was ordained on May 8, 1977.
Following ordination, he was appointed a parochial vicar at St. Pius V parish in the Bronx, where he instituted an innovative advocacy program for the poor entitled "Pueblo en Marcha."
He also earned a doctorate in Sociology at Fordham and wrote a book entitled "The Hispanic Catholic in the United States: a Socio-Cultural and Religious Profile."
Bishop Gonzalez was serving as pastor of Holy Cross parish, New York City, when he was named Titular Bishop of Ursona and Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, July 19, 1988. He was named the Coadjutor Bishop of Corpus Christi on May 16, 1995.
Rene H. Gracida was born in New Orleans, June 9, 1923.
Ordained a priest May 23, 1959, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Miami in 1971, founding Bishop of the diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in 1975, and Bishop of Corpus Christi in 1983.
The Diocese of Corpus Christi, established in 1912, comprises some 15 counties covering 17,294 square miles in southeast Texas. It has a Catholic population of nearly 350,000 out of a total population of 740,000.