Diocesan News

Bishop Robert J. Brennan Named New Bishop of Brooklyn; Pope Accepts Resignation of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Who Will Soon Retire

Bishop Robert J. Brennan

WINDSOR TERRACE — Bishop Robert J. Brennan, Bishop of Columbus, Ohio, has been named by Pope Francis to be the eighth Bishop of Brooklyn. The announcement was made on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-Designate Brennan will succeed Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, 77, who has served as the Bishop of Brooklyn, which includes the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, since 2003. Bishop DiMarzio’s resignation was accepted at the Vatican. At age 75, all bishops are required to submit their resignations, which are accepted at the discretion of the Holy Father. 

Bishop DiMarzio and Bishop Brennan will concelebrate 8 a.m. Mass at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, followed by a joint news conference on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 10 a.m.

The Mass and news conference will be televised on NET-TV and livestreamed at www.netny.tv.

Bishop DiMarzio will then lead Bishop Brennan on a tour of the diocese, which includes the Chancery Office and a visit with the students of St. Saviour Catholic Academy and St. Saviour High School.  

Bishop Brennan, 59, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 1989 and an Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre in 2012. He has been Bishop of Columbus since 2019.

“I have been very happy here in Ohio and am heartbroken that I will be leaving,” Bishop Brennan said. “I came to know amazing people here, and there is tremendous sadness leaving you behind. As I prepare to return to New York, I am ready and eager to embrace the people of Brooklyn and Queens as their pastor.”

“Knowing we are loved by Jesus, we will strive to show others His face, bearing the Joy of the Gospel and the Splendor of Truth,” he added. “In the end, that’s what it is all about — in Columbus, Brooklyn, and around the world.” 

Bishop-Designate Brennan will be installed on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m. at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, Prospect Heights.

“In the selection of Bishop Robert Brennan, the Holy Father has called upon a native New Yorker to return to lead the faithful of Brooklyn and Queens,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “On behalf of the Diocese of Brooklyn, I welcome Bishop Brennan, whom I have known for many years, with confidence in his ability to lead our Catholic community and build upon the pastoral achievements we have made. It has truly been an honor to serve as Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn for 18 years.”

“This is a historic moment for the Diocese of Brooklyn, which is a very active diocese, and Bishop Brennan’s energy makes him a perfect choice,” Bishop DiMarzio added. “I ask for God’s blessings on this transition so that the work of God, in service to His people, can effectively continue for the more than 1.2 million Catholics throughout Brooklyn and Queens.” 

Born in the Bronx, Bishop Brennan is the son of Robert and Patricia Brennan. The oldest of five children, he has two brothers and two sisters, 14 nieces and nephews, and three great-nephews and nieces.

Raised in Lindenhurst, New York, where his parents still reside, Bishop Brennan attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Lindenhurst; St. John the Baptist Diocesan H.S., West Islip, New York; and St. John’s University, Jamaica, where he earned a degree in mathematics and computer science. 

He then studied for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York, and was ordained by Bishop John McGann on May 27, 1989. His first assignment was at St. Patrick’s Parish, Smithtown, New York. In 1994, he was appointed secretary to the bishop, working in this capacity for three bishops: the late Bishop John McGann, the late Bishop James McHugh, and Bishop William Murphy. He resided at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, New York, where he served at the parish during those years. 

In 2002, he was named vicar general and moderator of the Curia for Rockville Centre. In 2010, he was appointed pastor of St. Mary of the Isle Parish, Long Beach. 

On July 25, 2012, he was ordained as Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, leaving his pastorate and taking up residence in the parish of Our Lady of Peace, Lynbrook, New York. He was ordained to the episcopacy along with Bishop Nelson Perez, who now serves as Archbishop of Philadelphia.

While at the Cathedral Parish of St. Agnes, Bishop Brennan came to know the Latino community and began to study Spanish. He says this opened new doors in parish ministry and has given him the chance to come to know and love the Latino community on Long Island. A particular focus of his episcopal ministry has been in service to this community of some 400,000 Catholics. He speaks of the vibrancy of their faith as a source of inspiration. 

While at Rockville Centre, Bishop Brennan served on the board of directors for Catholic Health Services as well as various diocesan boards and committees. He also served as chaplain for the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Nassau County and in several capacities on the Catholic Faith Network including serving as one of the co-hosts of the award-winning program “Insight.”

Bishop Brennan serves on the Board for the Institute for Catholic Schools at his alma mater, St. John’s University. 

At the national level, he has been a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Catholic Education, the Administrative Committee, and the Priorities and Plans Committee.

In February 2019, Bishop Brennan was a member of a delegation of U.S. bishops who traveled to the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, to learn more about the detention of Central American immigrants at the U.S.-Mexican border.

Bishop Brennan will continue his episcopacy in Columbus until his installation in Brooklyn. An administrator will be elected to lead the diocese there until a new bishop is selected and installed.