Auxiliary role has essentially been vacant for two years

Pope Francis has appointed two new auxiliary bishops for Milwaukee, a post that has essentially been empty for two years. Both are now priests in the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese.

The appointments were announced Wednesday in Rome, according to a release from the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese.

The bishops-elect are the Rev. Jeffrey R. Haines, rector and pastor of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Downtown Milwaukee, and the Rev. James T. Schuerman, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Catholic church in Lake Geneva. The two will be ordained as bishops at the cathedral, but no date has been set.

As St. John Cathedral rector, Haines has had one of the most prominent posts in the archdiocese and has been mentioned often as a possible bishop candidate. According to the release, “He occasionally interrupts his pastoral work for ‘pilgrimages’ to Miller Park to watch the Milwaukee Brewers, and to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville to listen to country music.”

Schuerman served four years at La Sagrada Familia, the Milwaukee Archdiocese’s sister parish in the Dominican Republic, and is fluent in Spanish, a key skill in a church with a growing population of Hispanic faithful. He also speaks German, according to the archdiocesan release. He is also adjunct spiritual director of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in St. Francis. Both the bishops-elect are 58 years old.

The archdiocese has not had an active auxiliary bishop since January 2014, when Bishop Donald Hying left to become bishop of Gary, Indiana. Bishop Emeritus Richard J. Sklba is officially an auxiliary bishop, but he’s been retired since 2010.

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“By choosing two of our own priests as our new auxiliary bishops, the Holy Father has paid a high compliment to all the priests from this archdiocese,” Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki said in the release. 

According to the release: “Auxiliary bishops serve the Church by assisting the archbishop in the pastoral and spiritual leadership of the archdiocese. They assist the diocesan bishop in his role as shepherd – teaching, leading, serving and celebrating the sacraments with the people of God.”