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Cupich named new Bishop of Spokane

Wed., June 30, 2010, 8:29 a.m.

Blase Joseph Cupich has been appointed Bishop of Spokane, the Vatican announced early today.

A Nebraska native and most recently the Bishop of Rapid City, S.D., Cupich takes over for retiring Bishop William S. Skylstad.

Cupich, 61, serves as chair of the Bishops’ Committee on the Protection for Children and Young People, and is a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Scripture Translation. He has been in Rapid City since 1998.

He wrote an essay for the Catholic weekly magazine America last month, outlining 12 things bishops have learned from the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal.

According to the Rapid City Diocese, Cupich was one of nine children. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in 1971. He went to seminary at North American College and Gregorian University in Rome, and was ordained in 1975.

He will be the sixth Bishop of Spokane, overseeing more than 80 parishes across Eastern Washington.

Cupich’s appointment was announced early this morning on the Vatican Information Service website under “Pontifical Acts” for June 30. It reads: “Appointed Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City, U.S.A., as bishop of Spokane.”

It then listed the number of Catholics at 101,700, priests at 152, permanent deacons at 55 and women in religious communitites as 303.

The Diocese of Spokane is made up of 13 counties of Eastern Washington State.

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