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Very Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades Named Bishop of Harrisburg Diocese

This morning, His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed the Very Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, as the ninth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa. Bishop-elect Rhoades succeeds Bishop Nicholas C. Dattilo, who passed away in March.

Bishop-elect Rhoades, 46 is a priest of the Harrisburg diocese and has served as seminary rector for seven years and professor for nine years. The diocese, which encompasses a population of more than 2 million, includes almost 250,000 Catholics, 89 parishes and seven missions, 161 priests and 49 permanent deacons. It also includes 39 parish and inter-parochial elementary schools (10,058 students), and seven secondary schools (3,932 students).

"I am happy to be coming home to the wonderful diocese of Harrisburg," said Bishop-elect Rhoades. "I look forward to being with the priests, my co-workers in the ministry, with thedeacons, with the men and women in consecrated life, and with the lay faithful, all united in the one Body of Christ in truth and charity."

Bishop-elect Rhoades was baptized at Saint Canicus Church in Mahanoy City, Pa. He grew up in Lebanon, Pa. and was a member of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Lebanon. He attended Saint Mary’s School in Lebanon and Lebanon Catholic High School. He attended Mount St. Mary’s University and in 1979 received a BA in philosophy from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. He also received his STB in Theology (1982), his STL in Theology (1986) and his JCL in Canon Law (1988) from the Gregorian University in Rome.

"Father Rhoades is a special priest," said Thomas H. Powell, president of Mount St. Mary’s University. "Not only is he a skilled administrator, but he is a priest with the heart of Jesus.

We are grateful for his years of service as rector of our seminary and for his leadership in preparing our seminarians for priestly formation. We wish him well and delight in his appointment as Bishop of Harrisburg."

He was ordained a deacon at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, in 1982 by Terence Cardinal Cooke. In 1983, he was ordained a priest at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Lebanon by then Auxiliary Bishop William Keeler, now Cardinal for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Md., and Chancellor of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. "Bishop Rhoades brings to his new position many wonderful gifts: he is a dedicated priest who knows and loves the diocese personally; a pastor who has dealt effectively with the challenges of a modern city parish; and one equipped, culturally and linguistically, to offer spiritual leadership to those coming from Latin America," said Cardinal Keeler.

"To the service of God’s people in Central Pennsylvania, Bishop Rhoades brings also a deep spirituality and the experience he gained as rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. There, in offering oversight to one of our country’s great seminaries, he sharpened skills of discernment and administration that will be blessings for all," Cardinal Keeler added.

Bishop-elect Rhoades is the son of Charles Rhoades, who lives in Lebanon, and of the late Mary Rhoades. He has an older brother, Charles, and sister-in-law Melanie, who have two children, Emily and Rachel. They live in Dover, New Hampshire. He has a younger sister, Robin, and brother-in-law, William McCracken, who have three children, John, Molly, and Marykate. They live in Gap, Pa.

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