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Pope Francis Names Next Archbishop Of St. Louis, As Robert Carlson Steps Down

Archbishop Robert Carlson, center, has led the Archdiocese of St. Louis since 2009.
Archdiocese of St. Louis
Archbishop Robert Carlson, center, has led the Archdiocese of St. Louis since 2009.

Updated at 11:35 a.m. June 10

Nearly a year after St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson announced his retirement, Pope Francis has named his successor.

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, will succeed Carlson as the next archbishop of St. Louis. 

Carlson submitted his resignation to the pope last year after turning 75, the mandatory age of retirement for the position. The Minnesota native has led the St. Louis Archdiocese, one of the largest Catholic communities in the country, since 2009.

During a press conference Wednesday morning at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Carlson described his successor as a leader with a “zeal for evangelization.”

“You are receiving from the Holy Father a true man of God,” said Carlson, who will temporarily serve as apostolic administrator, according to the archdiocese. “I believe that in a time like we’re going through now, a fresh leader is exactly what we need.”

Mitchell Rozanski, left, greets Pope Francis during a meeting of U.S. bishops at the Vatican on November 7, 2019.
Credit Vatican
The newly appointed St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, left, greets Pope Francis during a meeting of U.S. bishops at the Vatican last year.

Rozanski, 61, has led the Springfield diocese since 2014, a period during which it has fielded allegations of sexual abuse against a former bishop and two priests. Previously, he served as a priest and auxiliary bishop in his hometown of Baltimore. 

He acknowledged that he will begin his tenure during a “troubled time” in the U.S., when many are grappling with the “effects of the COVID-19 virus, the death of Mr. George Floyd and the sad spectre of racism that tears at the very fabric of our country.” 

Over the next several months, Rozanski said he plans to spend time learning about the needs of the St. Louis Catholic community and its members' “hopes and dreams.”

“I don’t think I can come here with a set agenda,” Rozanski said. “I’ve got a learning curve, and I know that.”

He will be installed as archbishop of St. Louis during a Mass service tentatively scheduled for Aug. 25.

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