Bishop Skurla Named Head of Pittsburgh’s Byzantine Archeparchy

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop William C. Skurla of the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic, N.J., as archbishop of the Byzantine Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.

Archbishop Skurla, 55, will succeed Archbishop Basil M. Schott, who died in June 2010.

The appointment was announced Jan. 19 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

His enthronement — as the Eastern Catholic installation ceremony is known — will take place April 18 in Pittsburgh.

The Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh is the only self-governing Eastern Catholic Church in the United States, meaning it is directly under the authority of the pope rather than a Catholic patriarch in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. It stretches from Erie, Pa., to Texas and has 58,000 parishioners and 65 priests in 78 parishes.

William Charles Skurla was born in Duluth, Minn., June 1, 1956, and attended local Catholic and public elementary schools. He graduated in 1974 from Chisholm High School, Chisholm, Minn.

He attended Deerfield Academy postgraduate program in Deerfield, Mass., from 1974 to 1975. He then attended Columbia University in New York, graduating in 1981 with a concentration in philosophy in 1981.

He entered the Byzantine Franciscan community in Sybertsville, Pa., in 1981 and studied for the priesthood at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pa., receiving master’s degrees in divinity in 1986 and theology in 1987.

Ordained a Franciscan priest in 1987, he was incardinated nine years later into the Eparchy of Van Nuys, Calif., where he served as pastoral administrator at St. Melany Byzantine Catholic Church in Tucson, Ariz., from 1993 until 2002. The eparchy is now known as the Holy Protection of Mary Eparchy of Phoenix.

Archbishop Skurla was named to head the Van Nuys Eparchy and ordained a bishop in 2002. He became head of the Passaic Eparchy in early 2008.

On the national level, Archbishop Skurla is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee, Priority and Plans Committee and National Advisory Committee. He also serves as episcopal chairman of the Intereparchial Vocation Directors and Intereparchial Youth Commission.

The Pittsburgh Archeparchy is the metropolitan see for the three U.S. Byzantine dioceses — Passaic, Phoenix and Parma, Ohio.

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