As I sit here and type this post, I still can't believe it, and I'm still shaking a bit. One of my brother priests, one of the finest priests I know, has been named Bishop of Gallup, N.M. this morning. I want to shout it from the rooftops, yet I feel a little sadness too. One of the best priests in our Diocese is leaving, and a personal friend is leaving as well.
Let me give you just a little of the background that I know about Bishop Elect Wall (still can't get used to typing those words!)
Bishop Elect Wall was born on a Native American Reservation in Northern Arizona that is, surprisingly enough, part of the Diocese of Gallup. His parents were school teachers and raised him and his brothers and sister to know, love, and serve God. His father passed away some years ago, but I bet his mother is rejoicing at the family home right now.
Most of his years growing up were in Chandler, Arizona, near Phoenix, and he attended Arizona State University. During his college years, he worked in a retail clothing store.
He attended St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, California, where I met him.
He has served as Parochial Vicar (Associate Pastor) of St. Theresa Parish in Phoenix, Parochial Vicar of St. Timothy Parish in Mesa, Vocation Director for the Diocese of Phoenix, Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Phoenix, Vicar of Clergy for the Diocese of Phoenix, and Director of the Mt. Claret Retreat Center in Phoenix.
Bishop Elect Wall is warm, funny, outgoing, athletic, and one of the best 'listeners' I know. He is truly a man of the Church, faithful to the Magisterium, dedicated to the reverent celebration of Mass, and truly a priest for the People of God. I cannot say enough positive things about him, and I know the Diocese of Gallup will be lead by one of the best Bishops in the world.
Congratulations Bishop Elect Wall.
Update - I guess I should refer to him now as Bishop-Elect James S. Wall, it seems more proper and right. My apologies to anyone offended by my calling him "Jim."
Statement of the Diocese of Phoenix
Re: the appointment of Reverend James S. Wall as Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup
February 5, 2009
The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Reverend James S. Wall, 44, Vicar for Priests for the Diocese of Phoenix, as Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico.
The appointment was announced in Washington, February 5, 2009, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop-elect Wall succeeds Bishop Donald E. Pelotte, the third Bishop of Gallup, who retired in April of 2008. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, has been Apostolic Administrator of Gallup since January 2008 and will remain so until Bishop-elect Wall is consecrated and installed.
James S. Wall, son of James A. and Joan L.Wall, was born October 11, 1964, in Ganado, Arizona on the Navajo reservation. He graduated from Chandler High School, Chandler, Arizona and the Arizona State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He then earned a Master of Divinity degree from St. John Seminary, Camarillo, California.
He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Phoenix on June 6, 1998.
Bishop-elect Wall served in several parish assignments in the Diocese of Phoenix including St. Theresa Parish, Phoenix and St. Timothy Parish, Mesa as Parochial Vicar, and St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Phoenix, as Pastor. He also served as Administrator Pro Tem at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glendale. He currently is Vicar of Priests and Director of Mount Claret Retreat Center, Phoenix.
The Diocese of Gallup is comprised of the Apache, Navajo and those parts of the Navajo and Hopi Reservations in Coconino Counties in the State of Arizona; San Juan, McKinley, Catron, Cibola and parts of Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Bernalillo and Valencia Counties in the State of Mexico for a total of 55,468 square miles. The total population of the Diocese is 491,400 people, with 58,292 of them Catholic.
Bishop-elect Wall will continue to serve in the Diocese of Phoenix until his Episcopal consecration at a date yet to be determined.