Pope Francis has appointed two of the archdiocese’s most well-respected priests, Bishop-elect Edmund Whalen, the vicar for clergy, and Bishop-elect Gerardo J. Colacicco, the pastor of St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception parish in Millbrook, as auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of New York.
Cardinal Dolan, thanking the Holy Father for the appointments, said in a statement, “Pope Francis has selected two outstanding priests, both with rich pastoral experience, to serve the people of God of this archdiocese as auxiliary bishops. I look forward to working even more closely with Bishop-elect Colacicco and Bishop-elect Whalen, as they undertake this new role in their priesthood.”
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, announced the appointments Oct. 10.
Cardinal Dolan introduced the newly named prelates at a 7 a.m. Mass he celebrated with them in St. Patrick’s Cathedral that day.
Also at the altar were New York Auxiliary Bishops John O’Hara and Peter Byrne, Retired Auxiliary Bishop Dominick Lagonegro and Msgr. Robert Ritchie, rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The cardinal, in opening remarks at the Mass, said, “It’s a day of special joy and thanksgiving here in the Archdiocese of New York. Just an hour ago, Pope Francis announced that two of our great priests were named auxiliary bishops in the archdiocese.”
The congregation responded with a round of applause for the new prelates.
The bishops-elect are both in their fourth decade as priests of the archdiocese and have served with distinction in numerous leadership positions, including as parish pastors, in seminary formation and as priest secretaries under Cardinal John O’Connor.
Bishop-elect Colacicco and Bishop-elect Whalen will assist Cardinal Dolan in a special way in the pastoral care of the people of the archdiocese. Their ordination as bishops will take place at a Mass to be celebrated Tuesday, Dec. 10, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The same morning, Cardinal Dolan led a blessing and prayer service for the new bishops-elect at St. John the Evangelist Church in Manhattan, where archdiocesan employees from the New York Catholic Center filled the pews. Also at the altar were Bishops Byrne, O’Hara and Lagonegro.
“Since my youth, my heroes have been my parish priests, and I wanted so desperately to be like them,” Bishop-elect Colacicco said. “I was so fortunate to come from such a loving and faithful family who encouraged my vocation and who sustain my vocation and continue to be a foundation of love in my life.”
Msgr. Whalen thanked the Catholic Center employees and reminded them of a meeting the previous week in the same venue when Barbara S. Jones, independent reviewer and special counsel for the archdiocese, shared her findings and recommendations after a yearlong review of the archdiocese’s child safety practices in response to the clergy abuse crisis. “That was a difficult day, but we were together,” Bishop-elect Whalen said.
“Thank God to you, and thank God to the many people who I have been privileged to serve as a priest,” Bishop-elect Whalen said to the archdiocesan employees.
Both of the newly appointed prelates expressed their gratitude to Pope Francis and to Cardinal Dolan.
The cardinal, in his words to his new auxiliaries, and to the congregation, said, “The appointment of two new auxiliary bishops is a very tangible sign…that the work of the Church goes on, and that Jesus continues to give His Church Good Shepherds after His mind and heart.”
Since Jan. 1, Bishop-elect Whalen, 61, has been vicar for clergy in the archdiocese, and Bishop-elect Colacicco, 64, has served since 2015 as pastor of St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception in Millbrook.
Bishop-elect Whalen had served as principal of Msgr. Farrell High School, Staten Island, 2010-2018.
He was pastor of St. Joseph and St. Thomas parish, Staten Island, 2007-2010, and St. Benedict, the Bronx, 2001-2007. He served as rector of St. John Neumann Residence, the Bronx, 1998-2001. He was vice rector of development at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, 1997-1998, where he was professor of moral theology for 12 years.
He was priest-secretary to Cardinal O’Connor, 1990-1992, and served on the Msgr. Farrell faculty, 1987-1990. He was parochial vicar of Resurrection parish, Rye, 1985-1987.
A native of Staten Island, he studied for the priesthood at Cathedral College and Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained in 1984 by Cardinal O’Connor. He holds a licentiate and doctorate in moral theology from St. Alphonsus Academy in Rome. He was named a monsignor in 1999.
Bishop-elect Colacicco served as administrator of St. Joseph in Millbrook for a year before becoming pastor of St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception. He also was pastor of St. Columba, Hopewell Junction, 2002-2014, and Sacred Heart, Newburgh, 1996-2002.
He served as a judge on the Metropolitan Tribunal, 2007-2010, and was defender of the bond and judge, 1992-1996.
He served as director of pastoral formation at St. Joseph’s Seminary, 1992-1996. He was priest secretary to Cardinal O’Connor, 1989-1990.
He was parochial vicar of St. Denis-St. Columba, Hopewell Junction, 1987-1989; Our Lady of Fatima, Scarsdale, 1984-1987; and Good Shepherd, Rhinebeck, 1982-1984.
A native of Poughkeepsie, he studied for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary. He was ordained by Cardinal Terence Cooke in 1982 and named a monsignor in 1999. He holds a licentiate in canon law from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.