VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope John Paul II has named Monsignor Roger Lawrence Schwietz the new archbishop for Anchorage, Alaska, the Vatican said today.
A St. Paul, Minn., native, Schwietz was ordained a priest in Rome in 1967. He has been bishop of Duluth, Minn., since 1989.
He will be coadjutor archbishop, meaning he holds the right of automatic succession to the Rev. Francis Hurley when he retires in two years at age 75.
Schwietz worked for years in the Great Lakes region, holding teaching, pastoral and other posts in places including Milwaukee, Belleville, Ill., and Chicago.
The naming of a replacement for Hurley will give Schwietz a chance to learn the job before Hurley's departure and provide continuity during the transition.
Hurley, who has been Anchorage's archbishop for nearly 23 years, said he welcomed the assistance of another bishop.
''The Holy Father has responded to two of my hopes, one for another bishop for the growing Archdiocese of Anchorage, the other for a personable, experienced bishop. The archdiocese is blessed,'' Hurley said in a news release.
Because Schwietz has lived in northern Minnesota for 10 years, Alaskans can brush aside any concerns that he'll have to make a big adjustment to Alaska's weather, Hurley said.
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