WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pope Francis has appointed Father Mark A. Eckman, pastor of Resurrection Parish in Pittsburgh, as an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Eckman, 62, is a native of Pittsburgh and was ordained a priest of the Pittsburgh Diocese May 11, 1985. He was recently named pastor at Resurrection but his first assignment after his ordination was as parochial vicar at the same parish.
His appointment was announced Nov. 5 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
His episcopal ordination Mass is scheduled for Jan. 11 at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh.
“The Holy Father’s appointment is a gift to our diocese and brings great joy to me,” said Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik, saying the newly named auxiliary — a “born and raised Pittsburgher” — has “a deep devotion to Jesus and the people of this region.”
“He has shown himself to be a caring, compassionate, responsible, skilled pastor of the church,” he said in a statement. “Please join me and his brother priests in prayer asking Jesus to fill his heart as he humbly takes on this new role.”
“I am honored that the Holy Father has placed such trust and confidence in me and I will serve wherever needed,” Eckman said. “I have chosen as my episcopal motto: ‘To serve in faith and charity.’ I hope to faithfully live out this motto as I continue to minister in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.”
Eckman will join Auxiliary Bishop William J. Waltersheid in assisting Zubik with pastoral and administrative needs. Retired Auxiliary Bishop William J. Winter continues to assist in the diocese.
The future bishop was born Feb. 9, 1959, to Francis and Clarissa Eckman. His late parents had four children, two daughters and two sons. His sister Mary Haugen and brother Francis J. Jr. are deceased. His sister Peggy Mannella lives in Bethel Park in the metro Pittsburgh area.
He attended St. Valentine elementary school and the former South Hills Catholic High School, now Seton-LaSalle High School. He was a seminarian at St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh, is a graduate of Duquesne University, also in Pittsburgh, and received a master of divinity degree from St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
In 36 years of priesthood, he has been a parochial vicar, high school chaplain, administrator of two parishes, pastor of two parishes and episcopal vicar for clergy personnel.
He also has been a member of several boards, including the priest council, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Advisory Board, the permanent diaconate formation board and the seminary admissions board.
Bishop-designate Eckman remains as pastor of Resurrection Parish.
“I only ever wanted to be a parish priest,” he said in a statement. “I am also grateful to all the faithful in the assignments that I have had the privilege to serve. Please be assured of my continued prayers for you, that as we build God’s kingdom here on earth, we may one day share eternal life with him in his kingdom of heaven.”
Founded Aug. 11, 1843, the Diocese of Pittsburgh is a family of 628,000 Catholics who live in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. The diocese covers: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Lawrence and Washington counties.