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Pope Names New Auxiliary Bishops of Detroit, Michigan, and Orange, California

 
November 23, 2016
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Gerard W. Battersby, 56, vice-rector and dean of formation at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and Father Robert J. Fisher, 57, pastor of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, as auxiliary bishops of Detroit. Also, Father Timothy Freyer, 53, episcopal vicar for the Diocese of Orange, California, was named by Pope Francis as an auxiliary bishop of Orange.

The appointments were publicized in Washington, November 23, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Gerard Battersby was born May 15, 1960. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Wayne State University, Detroit, in 1983; and a master of divinity degree from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, 1998. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit on May 30, 1998. He received a licentiate in sacred theology in 2008 from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in sacred theology at the Angelicum.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Thecla Church, Clinton Township, Michigan, 1998-2000, and at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Detroit, 2000-2001; pastor, St. Christopher Church, Detroit, 2001-2007; director of formation, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, 2007-2009; pastor, St. Leo Church, 2007-2009. In addition to serving as vice-rector/director of seminarian formation at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, 2011-present, Bishop-elect Battersby also serves as pastor at St. Mary's of Redford Church, 2015-present. He has also served as vicar forane and as a member of the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council.

Robert Fisher was born September 24, 1959. He holds a bachelor of science in management from the University of Detroit, 1983. He pursued philosophy studies (1986-1987) and earned a master of divinity degree from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, 1992; he pursued theology studies at St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, 1987-1988. Bishop-elect fisher was ordained a priest on June 27, 1992.

Assignments after ordination included: parochial vicar, Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Grosse Pointe Woods, 1992-1995, and director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Detroit, 1995-2000. He has served as pastor at St. Angela Parish, Roseville, 2000-2003; St. Lawrence Parish, Utica, 2003-2014; and the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak, Michigan, 2014 - present. He was a member of the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council, 2000-2004.

Timothy Freyer was born October 13, 1963, in Los Angeles, California. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from St. John Seminary College, Camarillo, California, 1981-1985, where he also continued seminary studies, 1985-1989. He was ordained a priest on June 10, 1989.

Assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at St. Hedwig Church, Los Alamitos, 1989-1994, and at Our Lady of Fatima Church, San Clemente, 1994-1999; parochial vicar, St. Catherine of Siena Church, Laguna Beach, 1999-2001; pastor, St. Mary's Church, Fullerton, 2001-2003; administrator pro tempore and administrator, St. Boniface Church, Anaheim, 2002-2003; pastor, St. Boniface Church, 2003-2012; episcopal vicar for clergy, 2012-present.

The Archdiocese of Detroit comprises 3,901 square miles in the state of Michigan. It has a total population of 4,260,234 people of which 1,159,688, or 27 percent, are Catholic. The archbishop of Detroit since 2009 is Archbishop Allen Vigneron. The archdiocese has two other active auxiliary bishops and three retired ones.

The Diocese of Orange comprises 782 square miles in the state of California. It has a total population of 3,145,515 people of which 1,346,540, or 43 percent, are Catholic. The bishop of Orange since 2012 is Bishop Kevin Vann. The diocese has two retired bishops.

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