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Pope Francis Appoints Westlake Native as New Bishop of Grand Rapids Diocese

Walkowiak is the Diocese's 12th bishop.

Westlake native David John Walkowiak, a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland, has been appointed the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids by Pope Francis according to the Diocese of Grand Rapids.

The appointment was announced by the Vatican April 18. 

Bishop-elect Walkowiak succeeds Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley. Hurley submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 at age 75, the mandatory retirement age for Catholic bishops. The d ay also marks Walkowiak’s 60th birthday.

“I am grateful to Pope Francis for entrusting me with this apostolic office as bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids,” Bishop-elect Walkowiak said on the Grand Rapids Diocese’s website. “In accepting this appointment I renew my trust in the Lord who asks me to set out again on a new mission. I thank God for providing me with the opportunity to serve this local church, which I pray will be a blessing to its people.”

Walkowiak, 59, is expected to speak at a press conference today.

Michigan site MLive reported Walkowiak is scheduled to be ordained as a bishop and installed in Grand Rapids on June 18, Hurley’s retirement date.

Walkowiak was installed in 1979 as a priest for the Diocese of Cleveland and currently pastors St. Joan of Arc Parish Chagrin Falls. According to Walkowiak’s bio on the St. Joan of Arc website, Walkowiak came to Saint Joan of Arc parish in March, 2006. His first assignment after earning a doctorate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America was at Saint Mary Parish in Lorain.

The Diocese of Grand Rapids encompasses 82 parishes and 182,000 Catholics in West Michigan.

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