Pope names Byzantine archbishop for Pittsburgh archeparchy
Pope Benedict XVI has named an experienced Byzantine Catholic bishop as the new Byzantine metropolitan archbishop of Pittsburgh, informs Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Archbishop-elect William Skurla, 55, of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, NJ, will be enthroned April 18 at 2 p.m. in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Munhall.
Prior to his 2007 appointment to Passaic he had spent five years as bishop of the Eparchy of Van Nuys, Calif.
The Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh is the only self-governing Eastern Catholic Church in the United States, and is directly under the authority of the pope rather than a patriarch in the Eastern Europe or the Middle East. Eastern Catholics are loyal to the pope, but their worship and church law closely resemble that of the Eastern Orthodox churches.
The Pittsburgh archeparchy -- or archdiocese -- has been without an archbishop since the death of Metropolitan Basil Schott in June 2010. It is geographically enormous, stretching from Erie to Texas, but about three-quarters of its 58,000 members live in the tri-state area.
Over the past 18 months the archeparchy has been led by the Rev. Eugene P. Yackanich, a local priest who served as administrator.
"We welcome Archbishop William among us, and we look forward to the new life and growth that his appointment will beign to the Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh," Father Yackanich said in a statement. "He comes with both pastoral and administrative experience that will serve him well."
Biography of Metropolitan Archbishop-elect William
Metropolitan Archbishop-elect William Charles Skurla, D.D. was born in Duluth, Minn. June 1, 1956, son of the late John and Mavis Skurla. He attended Catholic and public elementary schools and graduated in 1974 from Chisholm High School, Chisholm, Minn.
Bishop William attended Deerfield Academy Post-Graduate program in Deerfield, Mass.1974-75 and then attended Columbia University in New York City, graduating with a concentration in Philosophy in 1981. Following this, he then studied at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pa., receiving Master of Divinity (1986) and Master of Theology (1987) degrees.
Discerning a call to serve the Lord in a special way, William Skurla entered the Byzantine Franciscan community in Sybertsville, Pa. in 1981 and was solemnly professed in 1985. Bishop Michael Dudick ordained him to the diaconate in 1986 and to the priesthood in 1987 at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Freeland , Pa. In 1996, having received and accepted his dispensation from solemn vows as a member of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), he was incardinated into the Eparchy of Van Nuys, where he served as Pastoral Administrator at St. Melany Byzantine Catholic Church in Tucson, Ariz. from 1993 until 2002.
Archbishop-elect William was ordained to the Episcopacy and enthroned as the Third Bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys (now the Eparchy of Phoenix) on April 23, 2002 in Phoenix, Ariz. In December 2007 he was appointed Fourth Bishop of the Eparchy of Passaic (N.J.) and was enthroned at St. Michael Cathedral in Passaic on Jan. 29, 2008.
The Episcopal chairperson of the Intereparchial Vocations Commission (IEVC) and Intereparchial Youth Commission for the Metropolitan Church , Bishop William was a member of the Committee on the Laity with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He currently serves as a member of the USCCB Administrative Committee, Priority and Plans Committee, and National Advisory Committee.