Fort Worth Bishop promoted to Diocese of Orange, Calif.
Since submitting his resignation in November 2011, in keeping with the canon law requiring bishops to submit their resignation upon reaching age 75, Bishop Tod D. Brown of Orange said “speculation has been rampant in our diocese” about his successor. It was the subject of “clergy cocktail gossip” and the cause of “furrowed brows among the (chancery) staff,” he said at a news conference Sept. 21.
“Today,” he added, “the speculation ends.”
Earlier that day, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, 61, to be the fourth bishop of Orange, and accepted Bishop Brown’s resignation. The changes were announced in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Introducing his successor to chancery staff, media and guests invited to the news conference, Bishop Brown highlighted Bishop Vann’s accomplishments and experiences that make him well-suited for his new assignment.
Like the Diocese of Orange, Fort Worth has a significant Hispanic community — about half the population. Orange County is home to the biggest Vietnamese population outside Vietnam, while under Bishop Vann, the Diocese of Fort Worth built the largest Vietnamese Catholic church in the United States. (Bishop Vann speaks Spanish and is learning Vietnamese.)
Fort Worth is also home to Tongan and Korean communities, as is the Diocese of Orange. Bishop Vann has been a member of the U.S. bishops’ ad hoc committee charged with assisting the Vatican congregation in implementing the apostolic constitution for creating personal ordinariates for Anglicans who want to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.
In February, the Vatican formally inaugurated the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, based in Houston. In July, Bishop Vann received members of the Blessed John Henry Newman Society into the church — and ordained a former Anglican priest as a Catholic priest.
Bishop Vann’s seven years in Fort Worth have been a “dynamic period of growth,” Bishop Brown noted, pointing out that the demands for comprehensive pastoral services in that diocese were “not unlike those we have experienced in our own Diocese of Orange.” [more]