NEW YORK — Pope Francis has named a Brooklyn priest, Father Kevin Sweeney, as the next bishop of Paterson, New Jersey.
Bishop-Elect Sweeney, who is 50 years old, currently serves as the pastor of St. Michael parish in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He will become the 8th bishop of Paterson, succeeding Bishop Arthur Serratelli, whose resignation Pope Francis accepted today now that he has reached the retirement age of 75.
The announcement of Sweeney’s new post was made by the Vatican and the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, on Wednesday.
Sweeney is a native of Queens, New York where he grew up in the Whitestone neighborhood and was a member of St. Luke’s parish. From 1984-1988, he attended Cathedral Prep where he was an all-star player on the baseball team, excelling as an infielder, outfielder, and pitcher. While he had hoped to pursue a professional career in baseball, he felt called to enter the seminary after receiving a B.A. in philosophy from St. John’s University in 1992.
He remains an avid baseball fan, and, in 2013, he was inducted into Cathedral Prep’s Hall of Fame. As a priest in the diocese, he has continued to draw on his baseball skills, regularly participating in the Collars versus Scholars baseball game that promotes Catholic education. In addition, The Tablet’s sportswriter Jim Mancari often turns to Sweeney for his latest insights and commentary on the world of baseball.
In 1997, Bishop Thomas Daily ordained Sweeney a priest for the Diocese of Brooklyn. He was assigned as parochial vicar to the parish of St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica, Queesns and then to Our Lady of Sorrows in Corona, Queens.
In 2004, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio named Sweeney the Vocations Director of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Upon announcement of his post, DiMarzio congratulated Sweeney, highlighting his commitment to fostering vocations to the priesthood.
“I congratulate Bishop-elect Kevin Sweeney for his appointment by the Holy Father to serve Catholics in the Paterson Diocese,” DiMarzio said in a statement. “I could not think of a better choice. Bishop-elect Sweeney has served the Diocese of Brooklyn for 22 years and is an outstanding example of a parish priest. I know he is a man of prayer and is a zealous advocate of vocations to the priesthood.”
“This is a proud day for the Diocese of Brooklyn that the Holy Father would have chosen one of our priests to be a Bishop in our tri-state area,” said DiMarzio.
In 2018, he wrote about his own vocation to the priesthood in The Tablet, highlighting the encouragement he received from his parents and the priests at Cathedral Prep.
“Although I have had difficult and challenging moments and days, I have not had one moment of regret,” he wrote at the time.
Following his time as vocations director, in 2010, he was named pastor of St. Michael’s, a post has held since that time.
Sweeney is fluent in Spanish, having studied the language both in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
While no date has been set for his installation, he is expected to begin his service in Paterson later this year.
Follow Christopher White on Twitter: @cwwhite212