Published July 5, 2017 | En Español
ATLANTA—Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Luis R. Zarama, auxiliary bishop of the Atlanta Archdiocese, to serve the people of the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, as their bishop.
The appointment was announced Wednesday, July 5.
In a statement, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said that Pope Francis has “honored the Archdiocese of Atlanta with the gift of Bishop Luis R. Zarama to become the new Bishop of Raleigh. How fortunate that local Church is to receive such a devoted and generous servant minister. The Holy Father has chosen well even though his decision takes a deeply beloved brother and friend from our midst.”
The Mass of installation is planned for Tuesday, Aug. 29.
A native of Colombia
Born Nov. 28, 1958, in Pasto, Colombia, to Rafael and Maria Zarama, Bishop Zarama is the oldest of six children. He entered the seminary of Pasto and the Universidad Mariana, where he studied philosophy and theology from 1982-87 and received a degree in those fields. He then studied canon law at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá from 1987-91 and earned a degree in canon law.
He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta on Nov. 27, 1993 by Archbishop John F. Donoghue.
After his ordination, Bishop Zarama ministered in several parishes, including serving as a parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Church, Atlanta, from 1993-96 and serving as both pastor of St. Mark Church, Clarkesville, and administrator of St. Helena Mission, Clayton, from 1996-2006. He was the first Hispanic priest named as a pastor in the archdiocese when he took over at St. Mark Church.
In 2006, he was appointed vicar general of the archdiocese, a position he still holds. During his career he has also been involved with the Office of Vocations, the Court of Appeals of the Ecclesiastical Province of Atlanta and the Committee for the Continuing Education of Priests.
Bishop Zarama became an American citizen July 4, 2000. In 2007, he was named a monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI. In 2008 he was appointed to serve as the judicial vicar for the archdiocesan Metropolitan Tribunal. He is also a member of the archdiocesan personnel review board.
He was named an auxiliary bishop of Atlanta on July 27, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI and was ordained to the episcopacy on Sept. 29, 2009.
Raleigh Diocese is part of the province of Atlanta
The Diocese of Raleigh, a suffragan diocese in the metropolitan province of Atlanta, is comprised of the 54 eastern counties of North Carolina, covering approximately 32,000 square miles. The diocese is divided into eight deaneries with a total of 95 parishes and missions and five centers for campus ministry. The diocese is served by 113 active diocesan and religious order priests.
The number of registered Catholics in the Raleigh Diocese is 222,671, with an estimated 250,000 unregistered Hispanic people. In addition to the Hispanic population, the diocese has become home to an increasing number of Catholics from African and Asian countries. Approximately 5 percent of the Catholic population is native to North Carolina.
In his statement on Bishop Zarama’s appointment, Archbishop Gregory said, “I join Bishop-Elect (Bernard E.) Shlesinger and all of the clergy, religious, and faithful of the Archdiocese of Atlanta in assuring Bishop Zarama of our prayers and warmest best wishes as he begins this new service to Christ’s Church. While we will have time to celebrate his appointment to the Diocese of Raleigh before he takes leave for his August 29th Installation, we promise him our affectionate best wishes and congratulations on this happy moment for him and for all of God’s People in the Diocese of Raleigh.”