Pope names diocesan administrator of Burlington, Vt., Diocese as its new bishop

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Msgr. John J. McDermott, administrator of the Diocese of Burlington, Vt., gestures during his homily at the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Burlington Jan. 31, 2024. Pope Francis appointed Msgr. McDermott to be the bishop of Burlington May 6. (OSV News photo/Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic)

WASHINGTON (OSV News) — Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. John J. McDermott to be the bishop of Burlington, Vermont.

Bishop-designate McDermott, a priest of the Diocese of Burlington, currently serves as the diocesan administrator. He was elected to the post in October 2023 following the appointment of then-Bishop Christopher J. Coyne as coadjutor archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut, June 26. Archbishop Coyne automatically succeeded Archbishop Leonard P. Blair when he retired May 1.

The appointment for Burlington was publicized in Washington May 6 by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-designate McDermott, 61, a native of New Jersey, was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Burlington June 3, 1989. His ordination and installation as Burlington’s 11th bishop will take place July 15 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Burlington.

Bishop-designate McDermott: A history of service and leadership

John Joseph McDermott was born March 19, 1963, in Red Bank, New Jersey, the son of the late Robert and Jacqueline (Sullivan) McDermott. After high school graduation, he attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and he completed his studies for a bachelor of arts degree in political science and philosophy at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina.

He entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he earned a master’s of divinity and master of arts in theology. He was ordained by Bishop John A. Marshall at what was then the diocesan cathedral, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington. Then-Father McDermott earned a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington in 2004.

His pastoral assignments following ordination included serving as parochial vicar at St. Augustine Parish in Montpelier (1989-1992) and at St. Mark Parish in Burlington (1992-1996). He also was chaplain at Rice Memorial Catholic High School. He was administrator and then pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Middlebury and St. Bernadette Parish in Bridport. From 1996 to 2001, he was Catholic chaplain to Middlebury College in Middlebury.

During his studies in canon law, then-Father McDermott was associate director of the Catholic Center at the University of Vermont and pastor of St. Thomas Parish in Underhill and St. Mary Parish in Cambridge.

In 2004, he was named vice chancellor of the Burlington Diocese and a year later was named chancellor. He also was moderator of the curia from 2006 to 2009 while serving as chancellor. He has served in the diocesan tribunal as the defender of the bond and promoter of justice. In June 2009, he was named vicar general of the diocese, while continuing as chancellor and holding his offices in the diocesan tribunal.

Bishop-designate McDermott’s priestly ministry has included service on a number of committees and boards, including the diocesan finance council, the diocesan administrative board and the board of trustees for St. Michael’s College in Colchester. He was named a monsignor in 2012.

In 2014, he was apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Burlington, serving in the post after Bishop Salvatore R. Matano was named to head the Diocese of Rochester, New York, and before Bishop Coyne was named Burlington’s 10th bishop.

Bishop Coyne reappointed Bishop-designate McDermott as vicar general, moderator of the curia and chancellor in 2015. In addition to these diocesan duties, he was pastor of Christ the King-St. Anthony Parish in Burlington, from 2015-2021. Since 2021, he also has served as the director of The Catholic Center at the University of Vermont.

Bishop-designate McDermott has three brothers and six sisters, as well as 22 nephews and nieces.

The Diocese of Burlington, which covers the state of Vermont, has a Catholic population of 100,000 Catholics out of a total population of 645,570.

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