SLC’s Bishop Wester named Archbishop of Santa Fe, NM

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Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — Pope Francis has named Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City to be the Archbishop of Santa Fe, N.M., the Vatican announced Monday.

In a statement released by the Salt Lake City diocese, Bishop Wester will leave his post in June.

“While the Catholic people of Utah are honored to have their bishop selected as Archbishop of Santa Fe, they will be sad to see him leave and greatly appreciate his ministry over the past eight years,” the statement said. “Under his leadership the Diocese of Salt Lake City has grown significantly. Bishop Wester will bring wonderful gifts to the people of the historic Archdiocese of Santa Fe.”

Under Bishop Wester’s leadership, the Salt Lake City diocese focused on social justice issues — including immigration and health care. He most recently issued a scathing statement after Governor Gary Herbert signed a law bringing back the firing squad as a method of execution in Utah.

The diocese said in its statement that once Archbishop Wester is installed, the seven priests who serve the Catholic Church in Utah will meet to elect a priest to administer in the interim, until the appointment of a new bishop by the Vatican.