Detroit – In an unconventional follow-up announcement, Pope Benedict XVI named Texas seminary rector Fr. Arturo Cepeda to be the 28th auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Bishop-designate Cepeda, from the Archdiocese of San Antonio, is scheduled to be introduced to the Detroit archdiocese today at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit at a 10:30 a.m. event. The announcement comes after two local priests – Msgr. Donald Hanchon and Fr. Michael Byrnes – were named auxiliary bishops on March 22.
All three bishop-designates will be ordained bishops on May 5 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. They will aid Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron in pastoral oversight of the six-county archdiocese.
Bishop-designate Cepeda was born in Mexico and is the second Detroit auxiliary bishop to have come from Texas. Bishop Daniel Flores – now the bishop of Brownsville, Texas – was named an auxiliary bishop for Detroit while serving as a priest for his home diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas in 2006.
“Bishop Cepeda comes to us with an apostolic mission to use all of his many gifts and talents for the service of the whole People of God in Southeast Michigan – with particular attention to that portion of our family which is Hispanic,” said Archbishop Vigneron in a statement. “He is a true son of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I know she will help him to share his gifts with us, so that all of us – from so many diverse cultures – will share our gifts of grace with one another.”
Bishop-designate Cepeda said he’s looking forward to learning about, and from, the people of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
“Today, as I begin this new journey with the Church of the Archdiocese of Detroit, I am confident that with God’s help and the encouragement of Gods’ faithful in the Archdiocese, I will offer a clear reason for the hope we share in Christ, praying to show myself a true and faithful servant to the Lord who brings us together,” he said in a statement.
Bishop-designate Cepeda also will carry the distinction, upon his ordination, of being the youngest bishop in the United States. He is 41.
Born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Bishop-designate Cepeda grew up in a Catholic family and discovered a desire to be a priest from early on in his life. He came to the Archdiocese of San Antonio at the age of 19 when his family moved to the United States.
He was ordained in 1996, and served as an associate pastor at San Antonio’s cathedral. He then went to the Angelicum Pontifical University in Rome, where he earned a licentiate and a doctorate in sacred theology. Since his return to the Archdiocese of San Antonio, he has been involved in teaching and formation, has been the archdiocese’s vocation director, and has been vice rector, then rector of Assumption Seminary in the city.
Also throughout his priestly ministry, Bishop-designate Cepeda has hosted religious television programs on Catholic Television of San Antonio. Episodes of his bilingual, vocations-focused show “The Call/La Llamada” can be seen here online at www.ctsa.tv.
Asked how he felt about the next step in his ministry, Bishop-designate Cepeda — who describes himself as being social and having a lot of energy — says he was both humbled and excited.
“When I was first ordained, I said I’m open to wherever the spirit moves us in ministry,” he said in an interview. “I’m very happy as a priest and serving the people of God. That I know. And God has been very good to me and blessed me with a number of gifts, that are meant to be shared. I am just a happy camper, in other words.”