September 27, 2016
Washington (CNS)—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Placido Rodriguez of Lubbock and has named as his successor Monsignor Robert M. Coerver, a priest of the Diocese of Dallas.
Bishop Rodriguez has headed the diocese since 1994. He turns 76 Oct. 11; canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation at age 75.
The changes were announced Sept. 27 in Washington by Monsignor Walter Erbi, who is charge d'affaires at the apostolic nunciature to the United States.
Bishop-designate Coerver, 62, will become the third bishop of the Diocese of Lubbock. His episcopal ordination and installation Mass will be celebrated Monday, Nov. 21 at Christ the King Cathedral in Lubbock.
In a statement, he said he looked forward to "this new role as chief shepherd of the Catholic faithful in Lubbock," though he said he'll miss his home diocese. He asked for prayers from the people of Dallas "as I prepare to assume my new responsibilities."
"I was born and raised here in Dallas; my family roots are here and my ancestors were among Dallas' first Catholics," said Bishop-designate Coerver, pastor of St. Rita Parish in Dallas since 2010. "I have developed so many fantastic relationships over the years and it will be difficult to have them take on a different nature. I have cherished my work among my brother priests, and upon hearing of my appointment, a slight pang of sadness came upon me."
But as a priest, he continued, "I have always known that I must follow wherever the Lord leads me, and so when asked if I would accept the appointment, I did so immediately because I have promised to serve wherever the church needs me."
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, Dallas' bishop for 10 years who this past August was named by Pope Francis to lead a new Vatican office for the laity, family and life, said Bishop-designate Coerver "will be a tremendous blessing" to the Lubbock Diocese.
"(His) extensive experience as a pastor ... (and) his service on priest leadership boards and committees will be a tremendous asset in his new role," Bishop Farrell said in a statement. "His keen theological insight and deep devotion to our church, as well as an excellent pastoral manner, will serve him well as he leads his new diocese."
Born in Dallas June 6, 1954, Robert Coerver graduated from Jesuit College Preparatory School in 1972 and from the University of Dallas in 1976; he earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy there. He received his priestly formation at Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving. He pursued post-graduate studies at Rome's Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum.
He also has a licentiate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a master's degree in counseling and guidance from Texas A&M University. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Dallas in 1980.
His assignments after ordination included parochial vicar at a Dallas parish and a Plano parish, followed by 11 years as director of spiritual formation at Holy Trinity Seminary, 1985-1996.
He was Dallas' diocesan director of spiritual development of priests in 1996 and diocesan director of the Committee for Ongoing Formation of Priests,1996-2004. St. John Paul II named him a Monsignor in 2004.
He was pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Rockwall, Texas, from 2005 to 2010, when he was named pastor of St. Rita Parish.
Bishop-designate Coerver also has served the Diocese of Dallas in other capacities, including as vicar forane, 2007-2013; a member of the college of consultors, 2007 to present; and a member of the priests' council, 2008 to present.
Bishop Rodriguez was born Oct. 11, 1940, in Guanajuato in central Mexico; he was the 11th of 14 children. He grew up in the city of Celaya, about 125 miles northwest of Mexico City, and attended Catholic elementary school there. In January 1953, his parents, Eutemio and Maria Concepcion Rodriguez, immigrated to Chicago with their six youngest children.
He was ordained a Claretian priest May 23, 1968. He was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Chicago in 1983. On April 5, 1994, he was named to head the Diocese of Lubbock and was installed on June 1, 1994.
The Lubbock Diocese, founded March 25, 1983, encompasses 25 counties in west Texas. It covers 23,382 square miles. It has a total population of 494,458, of whom 136,894 people, or 28%, are Catholic.