Diocesan News

One Year Later, Bishop Brennan Gives Thanks ‘For the Gift of Being Here’

Bishop Robert Brennan greets his mother Patricia after his installation Mass as bishop at the Co-Cathedral
of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights. (Photos: Jeffrey Bruno)

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Bishop Robert Brennan celebrated Mass Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, where one year before, he was installed as the eighth Bishop of Brooklyn. 

“Today marks a complete year of our time being together as the Church of Brooklyn here in Brooklyn and Queens. It was a year ago today the Co-Cathedral was filled with people from all over the diocese as we celebrated our unity in faith. Your beautiful welcome to me lifted me up,” Bishop Brennan told the packed sanctuary. 

“Having met so many of you through the course of this year, I am constantly inspired and lifted up. I thank you for helping me to know Jesus Christ better and to be more convinced of His love on fire and to share that with one another. I thank God for the gift of being here in Brooklyn and Queens, and I thank God for the rich, vibrant Church He has brought together,” Bishop Brennan said. 

In his homily delivered at his installation Mass in 2021, Bishop Brennan shared a story of how he walked along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, “exploring the area,” and viewed “in the distance, the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of welcome, a symbol of hope for immigrants, and in some ways, an icon for the Diocese of Immigrants. 

“This is home now,” he added. “I look forward to living and praying among you and serving you with every ounce of my being.” 

In the first year of his ministry, Bishop Brennan visited 127 parishes throughout Brooklyn and Queens, celebrated 25 Confirmations, and visited 25 schools. In June, Bishop Brennan ordained three priests to serve in the Diocese of Brooklyn, and earlier this month, ordained six transitional deacons on the path to the priesthood; three for the Diocese of Brooklyn, two for the Archdiocese of New York, and one for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. 

And there were other milestones Bishop Brennan encountered in his inaugural year. The Synod on Synodality sessions, established at the behest of Pope Francis to take the pulse of the Catholic faithful and discuss together how the Church should proceed into the third millenium, were already underway as the bishop arrived in Brooklyn. In an interview with Currents News following the Mass, Bishop Brennan noted that while he has still not visited every parish, attending synod meetings across the diocese “got me into all the neighborhoods.” 

Other highlights: “Walking With Jesus” as Bishop Brennan led the Palm Sunday procession from Grand Army along Vanderbilt Avenue to the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph. And celebrating the Mass marking the 200th anniversary of the Cathedral Basilica of St. James, where the Diocese of Brooklyn was formed. 

On June 17th, Bishop Brennan launched a weekly podcast, “Big City Catholics,” to communicate with the faithful. 

The podcast is available on popular platforms, including Apple, Spotify, and YouTube, or on the Diocese of Brooklyn website, podcast.dioceseofbrooklyn.org. He mentioned in the Currents News interview that the podcast is one of several “new ways to evangelize and just to be together, and talk to one another in a deeper way.” 

Born in the Bronx and raised in Lindenhurst, N.Y., Bishop Brennan attended St. John’s University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and computer science. He then studied for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York. 

Bishop Brennan was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre on May 27, 1989. He was later named an Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre on July 25, 2012. On January 31, 2019, Pope Francis announced his selection of Bishop Brennan as the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio. He was installed as the Bishop of Columbus on March 29, 2019. 

On a national level, Bishop Brennan serves on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.