New Auxiliary Bishop Named for the Archdiocese of Detroit

May 23, 2022 — Pope Francis has named Archbishop Paul Fitzpatrick Russell as the 31st auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit. He will be welcomed to the Archdiocese of Detroit at a Liturgy of Welcome and Inauguration of Ministry on July 7, 2022 at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.

Having been given the title “Archbishop” ad personam by Pope Francis when he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan in March 2016, Archbishop Russell will retain this title while serving as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit. An auxiliary bishop aids the ordinary (diocesan bishop) in the pastoral care of an archdiocese.

“We are deeply grateful to Pope Francis for appointing Archbishop Russell as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and we are similarly grateful to Archbishop Russell for accepting this new ministry,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “We are particularly glad to welcome Archbishop Russell home to Michigan, where he grew up and first heard the Lord call him to the priestly vocation. Having served the Church all over the world, Archbishop Russell brings to the Archdiocese of Detroit a valuable perspective of the universal Church and our mission to make joyful missionary disciples of all nations.”

Archbishop Russell (photo) was born on May 2, 1959 in Greenfield, Massachusetts, to the late Isabelle Fitzpatrick and Thaddeus Russell. When he was in the third grade, his family moved to his mother’s hometown of Alpena, Michigan where Russell attended St. Bernard of Clairvaux elementary school and Alpena High School. He entered St. John’s Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston on June 20, 1987. He served in parish ministry for five years and one year as personal secretary to the Cardinal Archbishop. Following further study in Rome at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and the Pontifical Gregorian University, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See, serving in the Secretariat of State and the Apostolic Nunciatures (Vatican embassies) in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Switzerland (where he also served in parish ministry), and Nigeria.

On May 2, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI named him Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Taiwan.

On March 19, 2016, Pope Francis appointed Russell as Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan. He was consecrated Titular Archbishop of Novi in Dalmatia on June 3, 2016 in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston by Cardinal Seán O’Malley. Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit and Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh (Scotland) served as co-consecrators. Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Russell as Apostolic Nuncio to Azerbaijan, in addition to his service in Turkey and Turkmenistan, on April 7, 2018.

“I am so happy with Pope Francis’ decision to send me home and look forward to serving as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit and immersing myself in the mission and ministry of the local Church in southeast Michigan,” Archbishop Russell said. “Since we first met in Boston 30 years ago, Archbishop Vigneron has shown me fraternal support on various occasions, and now his warm welcome to the Archdiocese is a source of special gratitude.”

In the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Russell joins Auxiliary Bishops Gerard Battersby, Arturo Cepeda, Robert Fisher, and Donald Hanchon, and retired Auxiliary Bishops Francis Reiss and Thomas Gumbleton. Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Adam Maida, who had led the archdiocese since 1990, retired from active ministry in 2009. Archbishop Allen Vigneron serves as chief shepherd for the 1.1 million Catholics who reside in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Lapeer, and St. Clair counties.