Bishop-Elect James Ruggieri expresses his excitement at being named the 13th Bishop of Portland

Bishop-elect James Ruggieri, who was appointed the 13th Bishop of Portland by Pope Francis, was introduced to the people of Maine during a news conference held on Tuesday, February 13.

“I’m very grateful to be here this morning. I am very grateful to Pope Francis for appointing me the 13th Bishop of Portland. I rely on his prayers and the prayers and the support of the Church to shepherd God’s people well in this historic diocese,” he said.

Bishop-elect James Ruggieri comes to Maine from Rhode Island, where he was born and raised and where he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Providence in 1995. He currently serves at St. Michael the Archangel Parish and St. Patrick Parish, both in Providence.

Although he says he has visited Maine a few times, including the Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunk, he acknowledged that he has a lot to learn about the state.

“I humbly ask for your patience, please, as I get to know my new diocese, the local Church here in Maine,” he said. “I’m learning about the landscape, and it’s going to take a while. It’s a rather large learning curve.”

That includes getting used to navigating a state nearly 30 times the size of Rhode Island.

“I don’t want to think about that too much because it’s overwhelming, but I know it’s a beautiful state, and I’ve heard [there are] beautiful people here and a vibrant Church, so I am really thrilled to be here with you,” he said.

Bishop-elect Ruggieri said he is grateful that he will have the guidance of Bishop Robert Deeley, who plans to remain in Maine after retiring from active ministry, and he says he will put his trust in the Holy Spirit.

"I will try my best to not get in the Spirit’s way. It’s a piece of advice that I learned early on in priesthood and in formation,” he said. “And I entrust my entire future episcopal ministry to our Blessed Mother, Mary, and I place it under her maternal care.”

During the news conference, Bishop-elect Ruggieri wore a pectoral cross given to him by Bishop Richard Henning of Providence. Bishop-elect Ruggieri expressed his gratitude to Bishop Henning and the priests of the Diocese of Providence for their continued support. He also thanked his family members and  his current parishioners.

“To the people of the parishes of St. Patrick and St. Michael in Providence, parishes that I have been so blessed to pastor, I thank you for your love and support. Obviously, I would not be the person and priest I am today if it were not for you,” he said.

Many of those parishioners used social media to express their appreciation for him upon learning of his new appointment.

“Congratulations to our dear pastor. He will truly be missed here at St. Patrick’s, but our joy and prayers go with him,” posted one parishioner.

“This is the ultimate blessing for that diocese and significant loss for our diocese. I am in awe of this holy man and priest,” wrote another.

Following the news conference, Bishop Deeley gave Bishop-elect Ruggieri a tour of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, A cathedral is considered the bishop's church.

When they first arrived, both bishops knelt in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel. Bishop Deeley then shared some of the history of the cathedral and showed Bishop-elect Ruggieri some of the cathedral’s beautiful features including its altar, ambo, and the cathedra or bishop’s chair, which will become his. The cathedra in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception originally belonged to Bishop David Bacon, the first Bishop of Portland.

Bishop-elect Ruggieri will be ordained and installed as the 13th Bishop of Portland on May 7, 2024, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Bishop-Elect James Ruggieri
Bishop-Elect James Ruggieri applauds Bishop Robert Deeley
Bishop-Elect James Ruggieri
Bishop Robert Deeley
Father Claude Gendreau and Bishop-Elect James Ruggieri
Bishop-Elect James Ruggieri and Bishop Deeley pray in the cathedral chapel.
Bishop Robert Deeley, Bishop-Elect James Ruggieri, and Father Seamus Griesbach
Bishop Robert Deeley and Bishop-Elect James Ruggieri