Pope Names Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Rev. Joseph Williams, Currently Pastor of the Church of Saint Stephen and the Church of the Holy Rosary

Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Bishop-elect Williams

Pope Francis this morning named Father Joseph Williams, a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, as Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Bishop-elect Williams is currently the pastor of the Church of Saint Stephen and the Church of the Holy Rosary, both in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Father Williams also serves as Vicar for Latino Ministry for the Archdiocese.

A native of Stillwater, Minnesota, Bishop-elect Williams, 47, earned an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Minnesota, Morris. He then enrolled at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, where, in an environment of prayer and fraternal support, he heard God’s call to the priesthood. He was accepted into The Saint Paul Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1998. Bishop-elect Williams was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 2002.

After ordination, Bishop-elect Williams ministered at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Divine Mercy in Faribault, Saint Mathias in Hampton, and Saint Mary in New Trier. In 2008, he was appointed to serve Saint Stephen parish in Minneapolis. Holy Rosary parish was added to his pastorship in 2020.

Bishop-elect Williams currently serves on the board of trustees of The Seminaries of Saint Paul in Saint Paul. He has served as chaplain of the Minnesota House of Representatives and as the Coordinator of Archdiocesan Outreach to Persons with Disabilities.

As an auxiliary bishop, Bishop-elect Williams will work alongside Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to lead the Church in the Archdiocese, which encompasses the 12-county metro area.

“I am humbled and honored by Pope Francis’ appointment,” Bishop-elect Williams said. “I love Jesus and His Church, and I look forward to joining the faithful of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in sharing that love with our neighbors, especially the poor and the immigrant. I have had the privilege of serving our Spanish-speaking sisters and brothers for over 15 years. Their tender love of God and devotion to the priesthood have inspired me to live out my vows daily. I am confident the Holy Spirit will show Archbishop Hebda how I may best support him in caring for all the wonderful people of this Archdiocese. Please pray for us.”

Archbishop Hebda said: “It was with great joy that I learned of Pope Francis’ appointment of Fr. Joseph Williams as Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The priests and faithful of the Archdiocese should be honored that the Holy Father has chosen a native son, nurtured, nourished, and formed in this local Church, to serve as a Successor of the Apostles. His deep faith, pastoral heart, love for Christ and his flock, and impressive natural gifts all suggest that the Lord has long been preparing him to serve as a bishop. Having been inspired by his leadership at Saint Stephen and Holy Rosary, his heart for the poor and those on the periphery, his evangelical zeal, and his leadership as Vicar for Latino Ministry, I am particularly delighted by the appointment and am confident that the Archdiocese will benefit greatly from his example, discernment and leadership. Please join me in praying for Bishop-elect Williams as he prepares for his ordination on January 25, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, and as he begins his episcopal service. May Our Lady of Loreto, on whose feast he was named, guide him always to the compassionate heart of her Son.”

Bishop-elect Williams was born on May 2, 1974, to Dr. Gary and Mary Williams. He is the third of nine children, grew up in Stillwater, attended Saint Croix Catholic School, and graduated from Stillwater High School in 1992. His brother Father Peter Williams is also a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and serves as pastor of Saint Ambrose parish in Woodbury. Bishop-elect Williams graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota, Morris, in 1996 and earned a philosophy/pre-theology degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1998. He earned a Masters of Divinity from The Saint Paul Seminary and was ordained May 25, 2002, by Archbishop Harry J. Flynn.

His episcopal ordination is scheduled for January 25, 2022, at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. The ordination will be live-streamed on the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis’ Facebook page.