Bishop James Ruggieri's Biography

The Most Reverend James Thomas Ruggieri was named the thirteenth bishop of Portland by His Holiness Pope Francis on February 13, 2024, and was ordained and installed as Bishop of Portland on May 7, 2024, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.

Bishop Ruggieri was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on January 12, 1968, to the late John A. Ruggieri, Jr. and Irene (Paolino) Ruggieri. The youngest of four sons, he was educated in the Barrington, Rhode Island, public school system.  He is a 1986 graduate of Barrington High School.

He attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, then Providence College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies in 1990. Following his undergraduate education, he went on to receive a Master of Divinity from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1994. He was ordained a deacon on April 23, 1994, at the seminary by Most Reverend Joseph J. Gerry, OSB, the Tenth Bishop of Portland, Maine. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Providence on June 24, 1995, at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul by the Most Reverend Louis E. Gelineau.

Bishop Ruggieri was the pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Providence from 2003-2024 and St. Michael the Archangel Parish, also in Providence, from 2020-2024. In 2009, he, along with parishioners and supporters, founded St. Patrick Academy, a Catholic college-preparatory high school in Providence. St. Patrick Academy has been recognized for its mission of accepting students regardless of their families’ financial situations.

Prior to St. Patrick Parish, Bishop Ruggieri was an assistant pastor at Holy Spirit Parish in Central Falls (2001-2003), All Saints Parish in Woonsocket (1998-2001), and St. Matthew Church in Cranston – his first assignment following ordination.

Bishop Ruggieri has served in several administrative and leadership capacities, including on the Diocese of Providence’s Presbyteral Council and as a diocesan dean (vicar forane).

Bishop Ruggieri has been recognized with awards such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Vision Award from Providence College, and the Lumen Gentium Award for Evangelization from the Diocese of Providence. In addition, St. Patrick Parish was honored with the Loyola Press Opening Doors Parish Award for providing a welcoming environment for people with disabilities.

Bishop Ruggieri’s work to feed the poor of Providence and his frequent travels around the city in his food truck have been well-documented. His engagement in the community was the hallmark of his ministry in his home state.

Bishop Ruggieri is fluent in Spanish, a language he learned so he would be able to serve Providence’s inner-city parishes.