Saint Paul Seminary alum Williams named Diocese of Camden’s coadjutor bishop

bishop joseph williams shakes the hand of a seminarian
Bishop Joseph Williams, a 2002 Saint Paul Seminary alum, has been named coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey.

Saint Paul Seminary alum Bishop Joseph Williams has been appointed coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Tuesday morning.

“Pope Francis has called our heavenly Father ‘the God of surprises,’ and the Apostolic Nuncio certainly surprised me last week with the call to serve the faithful of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey as coadjutor bishop,” said Williams, who was ordained a priest in 2002 and serves on The Saint Paul Seminary board of trustees. “My wonderful parents have always taught me to ‘bloom where you’re planted.’ Now I will have the opportunity to do just that in South Jersey, which doesn’t appear to be any great penance! Everything I have learned so far about Camden tells me that it will be easy to fall in love with the people and the priests there; not to mention the privilege of following Bishop [Dennis] Sullivan, who is dear to his people and greatly respected by his brother priests and bishops. I look forward to learning under him these coming months and to emulating his special care for our immigrant sisters and brothers.”

A coadjutor bishop assists a bishop in the administration of a diocese. He usually succeeds the diocesan bishop when the latter retires, passes away or no longer serves as an active bishop.

Williams was installed as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2022. He’s one of 37 Saint Paul Seminary alumni to become a bishop.

“It is always a proud moment when one of our alumni is named to lead a diocese,” said Saint Paul Seminary Rector Fr. Joseph Taphorn. “Bishop Williams has a deep heart of service and will humbly and courageously lead the Diocese of Camden upon the retirement of Bishop Dennis Sullivan. At the same time, we will miss him dearly here in the Twin Cities; his presence among The Saint Paul Seminary community and on our Board of Trustees have greatly helped us live our mission to provide integrated, Catholic formation for those called to serve as priests, deacons or lay leaders in their local Church. We are looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for one of them, Bishop Williams, and for the faithful of South Jersey.”

Williams said he’ll miss his home archdiocese, too.

“The happiness that I am feeling at this time is not, however, unshadowed,” Williams said. “I have already begun to realize how difficult it will be to say goodbye to my family and friends and to the wonderful people of God here, especially the Latinos from whom I have experienced immense love and encouragement. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is my spiritual home and always will be. I look forward to returning to this corner of God’s garden, when I am able, to check on the ‘abundant harvest’ that is being prepared here by Archbishop [Bernard] Hebda, Bishop [Michael] Izen and the incredible priests, deacons and missionary disciples of Saint Paul and Minneapolis!”

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