As the Joliet Diocese waits for Pope Benedict XVI to name its new bishop, diocese leaders named Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Siegel as its administrator.
Siegel was elected by the College of Consultors just days after former Bishop Peter Sartain left to become the Archbishop of Seattle on Dec. 1.
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Sartain's elevation was announced in September, and diocese officials anticipated that Siegel would be named as his interim successor.
Now, Siegel will temporarily lead more than 650,000 parishioners in more than seven counties, including DuPage and Will.
Siegel said in a statement released Tuesday he was "honored and humbled" by the appointment, and added he hopes to carry on Sartain's work.
"I am grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from him, as we worked closely together over the past 10 months," Siegel said.
Under church law, Siegel has many of the powers and obligations of the bishop, but is more of a caretaker. He cannot implement programs that would hamper the next bishop and must maintain day-to-day operations, normal ministries and activities of the diocese.
Siegel, 47, was named auxiliary bishop in fall 2009 and ordained last January at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet. He is a Joliet native, and after seminary studies at several universities in the U.S. and Rome, he was ordained a priest in 1988, also at St. Raymond.
Previously, Siegel was assigned as parochial vicar at these parishes: St. Isidore, Bloomingdale; St. Mary Immaculate, Plainfield; St. Mary Nativity, Joliet; and the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, Joliet.
He served as pastor of Visitation Parish in Elmhurst from 2004 until June of this year.