Pope names new bishop for Diocese of Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A priest known for his YouTube series of advice and life hacks for Catholics was named by Pope Francis on Wednesday as the new bishop of the Diocese of Springfield.

The Rev. William Byrne, who most recently served as a priest in Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., will be formally installed on Dec. 14.

“Many of our people have drifted from their faith and many of our parishes and schools are struggling in the midst of the pandemic. But some of our greatest challenges come from within,” Byrne said at a news conference. “The shameful history of abuse within the church represents a systematic failure to protect our most vulnerable members, especially our children. It must be acknowledged going forward continuously."

Byrne, 56, a Virginia native who attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, was ordained in 1994 and was most recently pastor of Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac, Maryland.

His YouTube series “Five Things” highlights teachings, prayer starters, or spiritual meditations to help people to grow closer to God, the diocese said in a statement. It has been developed into a book.

Byrne replaces Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, who was named Archbishop of St. Louis in June.

The Diocese of Springfield oversees almost 165,000 Catholics in 79 parishes in the four westernmost counties of Massachusetts.