ANCHORAGE - Pope John Paul II today named a new archbishop for Anchorage who will succeed the Rev. Francis Hurley when he retires in two years.
The Rev. Roger L. Schwietz, Bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, Minn., has been appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Anchorage.
While larger archdioceses in the Roman Catholic church often have auxiliary archbishops, the coadjutor title is not common, said Brother Charles McBride, spokesman for the Anchorage Archdiocese. The title means Schwietz will be Hurley's successor after Hurley submits his resignation to the Pope at age 75.
The naming of a replacement for Hurley, who has served as Anchorage archbishop for nearly 23 years, will give Schwietz a chance to learn the job before Hurley's departure and provide continuity during the transition to new leadership.
Hurley said he welcomed the assistance of another bishop.
``The Holy Father has responded to two of my hopes, one for another bishop for the growing Archdiocese of Anchorage, the other for a personable, experienced bishop. The archdiocese is blessed,'' Hurley said in a news release.
Because Schwietz has lived in northern Minnesota for 10 years, Alaskans can brush aside any concerns that he'll have a big adjustment to Alaska's weather, Hurley said.
Schwietz, 60, was born in St. Paul, Minn., and ordained to the priesthood in 1967.