The following is taken from a press release issued by the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Pope Francis today announced that he has appointed three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Chicago: Bishops-elect Kevin M. Birmingham, Jeffrey S. Grob and Robert J. Lombardo, CFR. The episcopal ordination of the bishops-elect will take place on the feast of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, November 13, 2020.
“We are grateful to the Holy Father for the gift of these new auxiliary bishops,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago. “Each of these fine priests has made a unique contribution to the life of the church and society, yet they share in common a solid record of pastoral service, fidelity to the Gospel and inspiring personal witness.”
For the time being, Bishop-elect Birmingham will remain in his current position as director of the Archdiocese’s Department of Parish Vitality and Mission. Bishop-elect Grob will serve as the episcopal vicar of Vicariate I and Bishop-elect Lombardo will serve as episcopal vicar of Vicariate III.
Bishop-elect Kevin M. Birmingham, appointed titular bishop of Dolia, was born in Oak Lawn, Ill., on October 7, 1971, to Jeanette (Larsen) and the late Joseph Birmingham. He was raised in Our Lady of the Ridge Parish in Chicago Ridge, where he attended public grammar school. He graduated from Quigley South High School and spent two years at Loyola University Chicago before transferring to Niles College Seminary, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy with minors in computer science and mathematics in 1993. He graduated from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill. in 1997 with a master of divinity degree.
Bishop-elect Birmingham was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago by Cardinal Francis George on May 24, 1997. He served as associate pastor of St. Benedict Parish in Blue Island, Ill., and St. Peter Claver Mission in Robbins, Ill., from 1997 to 2001 and of St. Francis of Assisi in Orland Park, Ill., from 2001 to 2005. He was pastor of St. Anne Parish in Hazel Crest, Ill., from 2005 to 2011 and of Maternity BVM Parish in Chicago from 2011 to 2014. He has served the archdiocese as a member of the Presbyteral Council and Priests’ Placement Board and as dean of Deanery III-A. He was administrative secretary to Cardinal Cupich from November 2014 to June 2020, when he assumed directorship of the archdiocese’s Department of Parish Vitality and Mission. Bishop-elect Birmingham is fluent in Spanish and celebrates Spanish Masses at St. John Berchmans Parish in Chicago.
Bishop-elect Birmingham reflected on his appointment in this video, noting he has served as a deacon, associate, pastor, secretary to the Cardinal and a director during his 23 years as a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“It is no secret, as I’ve told so many of you, that the role I’ve always found most rewarding is that of being a pastor,” he said.
Bishop-elect Jeffrey S. Grob, appointed titular bishop of Abora, was born on March 19, 1961, in Madison, Wis., to Bonnie (Meinholz) and the late Gerald J. Grob. He grew up on a dairy farm outside Cross Plains, Wis. He attended St. Francis Xavier Grade School in Cross Plains and Holy Name High School Seminary in Madison, Wis. Bishop-elect Grob attended St. Meinrad College in St. Meinrad, Ind., and graduated from the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies. He spent a year at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. before earning a master of divinity degree in 1992 from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., where he was also awarded a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1999. Bishop-elect Grob earned a Licentiate in Canon Law and a doctorate in Canon Law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario, in 2000 and 2007, respectively. He earned a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario, also in 2007.
Bishop-elect Grob was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin on May 23, 1992. He served in parishes as resident and assistant pastor at SS. Faith, Hope and Charity Parish, Winnetka, from 1992 to 1998, and as a weekend assistant at St. Basil Parish in Ottawa, Ontario, from 1998 to 2002. He was dean of Deanery IV-D from 2008 to 2009 and pastor of St. Celestine Parish in Elmwood Park from 2008 to 2013.
He has served the archdiocese in many, often simultaneous positions, including assistant chancellor from 1994 to 1998, judge on the Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2013, judicial vicar from 2013 to 2015, chancellor from 2015 to 2017, archbishop’s delegate to the Independent Review Board from 2010 to the present, archbishop’s liaison to lay ecclesial movements and new communities from 2015 to the present, and judicial vicar and vicar for canonical affairs from 2017 to the present.
Bishop-elect Grob hearkened back to his decision to become a priest in this introductory video.
“As I pondered this new role and what it means, I could not help but reflect back to what led me to the priesthood 28 years ago, namely, a desire to live life in God’s service,” he said.
Bishop-elect Robert Lombardo, CFR, named titular bishop of Munaziana, was born on September 4,1957, in Stamford, Conn. to Emil and Christine (Rubino) Lombardo. He attended St. Maurice Grammar School and Stamford Catholic High School, both in Stamford. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., in 1979 and worked in public accountancy at Price Waterhouse from 1979 to 1980. He received a master of divinity degree from the Maryknoll School of Theology in Ossining, N.Y., in 1987, and a Master of Science degree in pastoral counseling from Iona College, New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1990.
Bishop-elect Lombardo began his formation as a Capuchin friar in 1980, when he entered St. Francis Friary in Garrison, N.Y. He professed his Capuchin first vows in 1981 at the Mary Immaculate Friary in Garrison, N.Y., and his Capuchin final vows in 1986 at Sacred Heart Church in Yonkers, N.Y. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 12, 1990, by Cardinal John O’Connor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, N.Y., and is a founding member of his community, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR.)
As a young religious, Bishop-elect Lombardo did missionary work in Bolivia and Honduras with orphaned street children, organized youth programs on Manhattan’s lower east side, and directed the Padre Pio Shelter for the Homeless in the Bronx. He held several positions in the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, including director of the St. Anthony Residence, director of the Lay Associate, local servant (guardian) of St. Crispin’s Friary, director of St. Anthony’s Free Medical/Dental Clinic and vicar general. He is fluent in Spanish.
Bishop-elect Lombardo came to Chicago in 2005 at the request of Cardinal George to establish a mission outreach to the poor on the city’s West Side. He is the founder and director of the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels and founder and superior of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago. The mission, located in West Humboldt Park operates food and clothing pantries, conducts afterschool, family and senior citizens’ programming and hosts retreats, Bible camps and religious education classes.
Bishop-elect Lombardo has served the archdiocese as a member of the Human Dignity and Solidarity Office and Priest Advisory Board from 2006 to 2015, adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary from 2013 to 2015, member of the Institute on Religious Life board from 2010 to the present, dean of Vicariate III A from 2015 to the present and co-lead of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Initiative on Evangelization from 2016 to the present. He is involved in Chicago civic organizations, including his service as a board member of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless from 2008 to 2010 and as a current member of the YMCA of Metro Chicago board.
Bishop-elect Lombardo drew upon the simple greeting of peace offered by St. Francis of Assisi when describing his aspiration for his new role in this video message.
“It is my hope to be an instrument of the Lord’s peace in my new responsibilities as an auxiliary bishop here in the Archdiocese of Chicago,” he said.
Watch this bonus video of off-the-cuff reactions from all three new bishops reflecting on their appointments.