Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, of Baltimore, announced today that the Archdiocese plans to adjust its current structure of three vicariates to reflect the likelihood that former Western Vicar Bishop W. Francis Malooly, now Bishop of Wilmington, will not be replaced. The new structure would go into effect October 1 and would be comprised of two vicariates, with Auxiliary Bishops Mitchell T. Rozanski and Denis J. Madden serving as Vicar Bishops for each.
Vicariate 1 will consist of parishes in the following jurisdictions: Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Harford County. Vicariate 2 will consist of parishes in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll, Howard, and Anne Arundel Counties. The new vicariates, yet to be named, replace the former Eastern, Western, and Urban Vicariates, which were created in the 1970s.
The purpose of dividing the Archdiocese into these vicariates and to assigning vicar bishops to them is to ensure that the individual needs of the parishes and the faithful—which can change dramatically from one area to another—are specifically and appropriately met.
“All parishes have a voice to be heard and needs to be served,” Archbishop O’Brien said. “This change in our structure gives us an excellent opportunity for partnership and collaboration among parishes, which will help this local Church achieve success in promoting the New Evangelization that is our mission as Catholics.”
The decision comes after many weeks of planning and consultation, including valuable input from priests, lay leaders, and pastors serving as regional liaisons called vicars forane. The Archbishop’s 35-member council of priest advisors voiced unanimous approval of the plan during their September 17th meeting.
The Archbishop is pleased with the new structure because it will allow parishes continued access to a vicar bishop, something pastors voiced support for, and will enable him to complement his two auxiliary bishops in the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation throughout Baltimore City and the nine counties of the Archdiocese.