Statement of Cardinal Donald Wuerl on the Retirement of Bishop Francisco González, S.F.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
WASHINGTON – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, issued the following statement regarding the retirement of Bishop Francisco González, S.F., auxiliary bishop of Washington:
“Today I express my profound appreciation for the great service Bishop Francisco González has provided the Church of Washington as both a priest and a bishop for so many years. It has been a privilege to work side by side with him in the Archdiocese of Washington since 2006, and I have been honored to call him my friend for more than a decade.
“Bishop González dedicated his priesthood to inspiring families to be holy and has shown exemplary devotion in ministering to the archdiocese’s more than 250,000 Hispanic Catholics. We will miss his daily presence at the archdiocese’s pastoral center but are pleased that he will continue to reside within the Archdiocese of Washington. May God’s blessings be with him in his retirement.”
By church law, bishops are required to submit a letter of resignation to the Holy Father on their 75th birthday. Bishop González turned 75 on May 22, and his resignation was accepted by Pope Francis. On May 1, Bishop González marked the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood as a member of the Sons of the Holy Family, a religious community founded by St. Joseph Manyanet to inspire families to make their homes resemble the home of the Holy Family in Nazareth. A Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his ordination at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on May 24.
Bishop González has served as a teacher and chaplain in high schools and has held a number of parish assignments in the Archdiocese of Washington, New Mexico and Colorado. His religious community elected him on three occasions as a delegate to their General Chapters. He has also served as rector of Holy Family Seminary in Silver Spring, Md., and was Vice Provincial Superior for the Sons of the Holy Family in the United States until December 28, 2001, when he was named a bishop by Pope John Paul II, the first member of the Sons of the Holy Family to receive such appointment. He was ordained a bishop in Washington on Feb. 11, 2002.
Bishop González has served as the spiritual advisor to the Hispanic Charismatic Prayer Groups and the Cursillo Movement in the Archdiocese of Washington. From 1987-1989, he was the national chaplain for Cursillo. In 1992, he was named Coordinator of the Hispanic Family Life Office for the Archdiocese of Washington. He also has served as Interim Secretary for Parish Life and Worship. Since 1997, when Cardinal James A. Hickey, then-Archbishop of Washington, appointed him Episcopal Vicar for Hispanic Catholics, Bishop González has served as the primary liaison between the Archbishop of Washington and the region’s large Spanish-speaking community. He was honored with The James Cardinal Hickey Award by the Spanish Catholic Center in 2012 for his dedication and service to the Washington area community. Bishop González has chaired the Immigration Task Force for the Maryland Catholic Conference and writes an award-winning column on family and spiritual life for El Pregonero, the archdiocese’s Spanish-language community newspaper.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
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