Pope Francis names a new bishop for Raleigh

At 6:00 a.m. EST, it was announced in Rome that our Holy Father Pope Francis appointed Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, to serve as the 6th bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh. He will be installed at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral on August 29, 2017.

Below the video you will find statements from Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, as well as a short biography of Bishop Luis Zarama.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory (Archbishop of Atlanta) issued the following statement:

Pope Francis in today’s appointment has honored the Archdiocese of Atlanta with the gift of Bishop Luis R. Zarama to become the new Bishop of Raleigh. How fortunate that local Church is to receive such a devoted and generous servant minister. The Holy Father has chosen well even though his decision takes a deeply beloved brother and friend from our midst.

I join Bishop-Elect Shlesinger and all of the clergy, religious, and faithful of the Archdiocese of Atlanta in assuring Bishop Zarama of our prayers and warmest best wishes as he begins this new service to Christ’s Church. While we will have time to celebrate his appointment to the Diocese of Raleigh before he takes leave for his August 29th Installation, we promise him our affectionate best wishes and congratulations on this happy moment for him and for all of God’s People in the Diocese of Raleigh.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, former bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh and current bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, responded to the news with the following statement:

I give thanks to God for the appointment of Bishop Luis Zarama as the Sixth Bishop of Raleigh. I am proud to call him a brother bishop and good friend. Bishop Zarama is a holy, faithful and joyful bishop known and respected for his pastoral skills, administrative abilities, zeal and kindness. I have assured Bishop Zarama that he will be truly blessed with the support of such good priests, consecrated religious, deacons, seminarians, colleagues and lay faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh. I promised Bishop Zarama that he and the Diocese of Raleigh will remain in my daily prayers at this joyful and historic moment and always.

Below is a brief biography of Bishop Zarama:

Bishop Luis Zarama was born in Pasto, Colombia, on November 28, 1958. He attended the Conciliar Seminary in Pasto, Colombia, where he graduated from high school. He attended the Marian University in Pasto, earning a degree in Philosophy and Theology. He also attended the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, earning a degree in Canon Law. He was a Philosophy and Theology professor at the Carmelites School, the Learning School and the Colombia Military School for eleven years. 

Bishop Zarama was ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta on November 27, 1993. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Atlanta. He served as a member of the Vocations Committee. Bishop Zarama was the first Hispanic priest to be named pastor in the Archdiocese of Atlanta to St. Mark Catholic Church in Clarksville, GA, and St. Helena Mission in Clayton GA. He was a board member of Habitat for Humanity in Habersham County in 2005. Bishop Zarama was named Vicar General of the Archdiocese in April of 2006. He was named Chaplain of His Holiness with the title of monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI on March 7, 2007. In 2008 he was appointed to serve as the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese's Metropolitan Tribunal. He is also a member of the Archdiocesan Personnel Review Board. 

On July 27, 2009, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, named him as Titular Bishop of Bararus and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was ordained to the Episcopacy on September 29, 2009.