Born in Southern Maryland and raised in Washington, D.C., Bishop Roy Edward Campbell, Jr. has lifelong ties to the local Washington area.
April 21, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, today ordained Fr. Roy Edward Campbell, Jr. as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington at a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Bishop Martin D. Holley, bishop of Memphis and Bishop Barry C. Knestout, auxiliary archbishop of Washington were principal co-ordaining bishops. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, was the principal concelebrant and was joined by other concelebrating and co-ordaining archbishops and bishops who traveled to Washington to take part in a moment of historical significance for the archdiocese.
Pope Francis named Bishop Campbell an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington last month. Auxiliary bishops in the Archdiocese of Washington assist the archbishop, Cardinal Wuerl, in the pastoral care of the 620,000 Catholics in the archdiocese. Currently in the archdiocese of Washington, there are two other active auxiliary bishops, Bishop Barry C. Knestout and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville. Bishop Francisco Gonzalez, S.F. is retired. Bishop Campbell, age 69, was born in southern Maryland and raised in the District of Columbia. He is a life-long resident of the archdiocese where he attended Bruce Elementary, Shrine of the Sacred Heart School, Archbishop Carroll High School and Howard University. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2007 and his parish assignments have included Saint Augustine’s, Immaculate Conception, and Assumption Catholic Church in Washington and his current assignment as pastor of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Largo.
In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl asked the faithful gathered in the cathedral to reflect on the significance of the ritual about to unfold. Especially significant in this Easter season, the cardinal said, we reflect on and celebrate the great Paschal Mystery, particularly Jesus’ Resurrection, and our share in his new life. “As he prepared to return to his Father in glory, Jesus sent the apostles into the world. These men were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel and gather every race and people into a single flock to be guided and governed in the way of holiness. Because this service was to continue to the end of time, the apostles selected others to help them,” said the cardinal. The apostles passed on the gift of the Holy Spirit which they had received from Christ. “In that way, by a succession of bishops unbroken from one generation to the next, the powers conferred in the beginning were handed down, and the work of our Savior continues in our time.”
Bishop Campbell’s ordination has special meaning for the Church of Washington, the cardinal said, because he is also a “native son” of the archdiocese – “one who received the faith and was formed in it here and who already brings a sense of continuity with its pastoral life.”
In naming Bishop Campbell to be an auxiliary bishop for Washington, the Holy Father “bears witness to the great cultural richness and ethnic complexity of the Church of Washington reflected in all of her faithful laity, religious and clergy,” said the cardinal, and reflected that Pope Francis saw this when he visited St. Matthew’s Cathedral during his apostolic visit to Washington in 2015. “Here, he also recalled for us the beginnings of our own Catholic faith in that part of the world, Bishop Campbell, that you call home – Southern Maryland.”
Bishop Campbell was born in Southern Maryland, considered to be the birth place of religious freedom, where the first Catholic Mass was celebrated in the thirteen original colonies in 1634 when the Ark and the Dove landed at St. Clement’s Island, and the place where the Catholic faith in this part of the world began.
After the homily, the ordination rite began and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States publicly presented and read the bulla apostolica, the formal decree from Pope Francis affirming the appointment of Bishop Campbell for the Archdiocese of Washington.
From ancient times, bishops-elect were questioned publicly about their resolve to uphold the faith and offer a ministry of service. As the ordination rite began, Bishop Campbell was questioned about his resolve to discharge the office of bishop until death, to preach the Gospel with constancy and fidelity, to guard the deposit of faith, to build up the Body of Christ, to render faithful obedience to the successor of St. Peter (the pope), to guide and sustain the holy people of God, to be welcoming and merciful to the poor and all who are in need, to seek out those who stray, and to pray without ceasing for God’s holy people. After the bishop affirmed these questions, Cardinal Wuerl concluded with the prayer, “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.”
Symbolizing his total giving of self, just as Jesus laid down his life to bring salvation to the world, the bishop then lay prostrate before the altar as the Litany of Saints was sung. The litany invokes the intercession of apostles and martyrs from the early Church as well as holy women and men of recent times, including St. John XXIII, St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta. Then, in the focal point of the ordination rite and in a gesture of apostolic origin, Cardinal Wuerl and the co-ordaining bishops laid hands on the bishop-elect’s head, the essential act of ordination, as a sign that the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the individual and each is configured to Christ as Head of his Church. Following the laying of hands, the cardinal recited the Prayer of Ordination. The Book of the Gospels was held over the bishop’s head as a sign that the bishop’s ministry is carried out in service to the gospel. The bishop’s head was anointed with chrism oil and he was presented with the symbols of a bishop: the ring, miter, and crosier.
At the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Campbell gave his first blessing to the faithful gathered, and offered brief remarks: “I want to thank God for allowing me to hear and to answer his call to serve him and his church as a deacon, as a priest, and now as a bishop. I thank the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for asking me to serve the church in this way. I especially thank our archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, for guiding me, and his continued faith in me as a priest of this archdiocese who wishes only to love and serve God’s people. I thank my mother Elizabeth, my brothers and sisters, the rest of my family, both living and deceased, and all who’ve helped me to attain this year in Jesus’ priesthood. And I now pray, that you Lord, through the intercession of Mary our Blessed Virgin Mother will help me and help all of us to do your will—that your church may grow and become more fruitful in your service. Amen. And may God Bless us all!”
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.