Pope Benedict XVI has named the Very Rev. David O’Connell, C.M., a Niagara University alumnus and former university administrator, the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, N.J. Father O’Connell will serve as coadjutor bishop-elect of the diocese until the Pope accepts the resignation of Bishop John Mortimer Smith as required by canon law at a date yet to be determined. His episcopal ordination will take place July 30 in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton.
“I am indeed grateful to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for choosing me to serve the people of God in Trenton as bishop,” Father O’Connell said.
Father O’Connell, ’78, served as acting academic vice president at Niagara from 1994-1995. He was elected to the Niagara University board of trustees in 2001 and named trustee emeritus in October 2009. He received an honorary degree from Niagara in May 2008. Father O’Connell has served as 14th president of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., for the past 12 years. He holds a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Niagara University, and licentiate and a doctorate in canon law from The Catholic University of America. He celebrated the 28th anniversary of his ordination as a priest on June 5.
The Trenton diocese serves more than 800,000 Catholics in central New Jersey.