SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Washington, D.C. priest who has gained attention well beyond his archdiocese for his writings and YouTube videos has been chosen by Pope Francis to serve as the new bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.
Rev. William D. Byrne has been selected to serve as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, which serves Catholics in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties.
According to a news release from Diocese spokesman Mark Dupont, Byrne is 56 years-old and has held a variety of positions in the Washington Archdiocese. These include serving as chaplain at the University of Maryland, teaching at a seminary, and starting a special ministry to Catholic members of Congress while serving as a pastor of St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill.
He is perhaps most well-known outside Washington for his “5 Things with Father Bill Byrne” YouTube video series, which explain Catholic teachings, as well as discuss everyday life issues. Byrne is also a columnist. His works have been developed into a book, also called “Five Things with Fr. Bill,” which is to be released on Thursday by Loyola Press.
He told 22News he’s excited to get to know the community here in western Massachusetts.
“If you want to find me, you probably won’t find me in my office as much because I want to be out meeting the people of God here. For the last 12 days, my google search history has been Berkshire County, Franklin County, Hampden County, Hampshire County, trying to learn everything I can about these places and what I see I’m already in love with.”
Byrne will officially become Bishop of Springfield during a Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral on December 14.
The office of Bishop of Springfield has been vacant since former Bishop Mitchell Rozanski was named Archbishop of St. Louis earlier this year.