Archbishop Aquila and Bishop Rodriguez welcome Colorado Springs Bishop-elect James R. Golka to Colorado

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Diocese of Colorado Springs have announced that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Sheridan, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Colorado Springs and has appointed Father James R. Golka, a priest of the Diocese of Grand Island as Bishop-elect of Colorado Springs. Bishop-elect Golka currently serves as rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grand Island, Nebraska.  

In a joint statement, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Bishop Jorge Rodriguez expressed the following:  

“On behalf of the Archdiocese of Denver and the entire Province, welcome to Colorado Bishop-elect Golka! We pray that God will bless you and the Diocese of Colorado Springs with all the graces you need to shepherd God’s people and help them experience the joy of knowing him. We are sure that you will find as we have that the Church in Colorado is filled with good, faithful and generous people. We look forward to working with you in our shared ministry to this great state. 

 We also wish to extend our prayers and gratitude to Bishop Michael Sheridan for his service to the Church and wish him well in his retirement.”  

News release from the Diocese of Colorado Springs:

Father James Golka of the Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska, named Bishop of Colorado Springs  

Pope Francis has named Father James Golka, a priest of the Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska, as the third Bishop of Colorado Springs. Bishop-elect Golka will be introduced by Bishop Michael Sheridan during a press conference today (April 30) at 10 a.m. in the Hanifen Room at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 228 N. Cascade Ave. The press conference will be broadcast via Facebook Live on the diocesan Facebook page (@CatholicDioceseCOS).  

“I am incredibly humbled and excited for the opportunity to join in the ministry and mission of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Colorado Springs,” said Bishop-elect Golka. “I ask for your prayers; please be assured of mine.”  

Bishop-elect Golka, 54, most recently served as Vicar General for the Diocese of Grand Island and as Rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The fourth of ten children born to Robert and Patricia Golka, he graduated from Creighton University in 1989 with degrees in philosophy and theology. In 1990, he entered St. Paul Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he earned both a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degree in Sacramental Theology. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Grand Island on June 3, 1994, by Bishop Lawrence McNamara.  

Bishop Sheridan, who submitted his resignation to Pope Francis upon turning age 75 on March 4, 2020, said that he was very happy with the appointment.  

“Bishop-elect Golka has already shown himself to be not only a skilled administrator, but also a man of prayer,” said Bishop Sheridan. “I believe that he will serve the people of this diocese very well.”  

Bishop-elect Golka’s episcopal ordination is scheduled for late June. Details of the event will be announced shortly. 

COMING UP: Colorado bishops issue letter on the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life Congressional policies

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We, the Catholic bishops of Colorado, urge Congressional Representatives to support the Hyde Amendment and the Walden Amendment. We also ask the Faithful to sign The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) petition to lawmakers encouraging them to preserve the Hyde Amendment, which can be accessed at: NoTaxpayerAbortion.com, and to contact their Congressmen and women to support the Hyde and Walden amendments.

The House Appropriations Labor and Health and Human Services subcommittee recently passed a spending bill that strips protections for pre-born children, healthcare providers,and American taxpayers by excluding pro-life provisions, including the Hyde and Weldon amendments.

The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion in most cases, except for rape and incest, has received bipartisan support since its inception in 1976 – including by pro-abortion administrations. Hyde is critical in saving lives. The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that approximately 60,000 pre-born babies are saved every year because of the Hyde Amendment.[1] This is the first time in 40 years that the Hyde Amendment was not included in the annual appropriations bill[2] and failure to include pro-life amendments will only further increase divisions in our country.

The Weldon Amendment prevents any federal programs, agencies, and state and local governments from discriminating against health care practitioners and institutions that do not provide abortion services. It ensures that pro-life individuals and organizations can enter the health care profession without fearing that the government will force them to perform a procedure that violates their well-founded convictions. It has also received bipartisan support and was added to the appropriations bill every year since it was first enacted in 2005. [3]

Congress’ recent actions endanger the lives of pre-born children and infringe on the rights of millions of Americans who do not wish to participate in the moral evil of abortion. A recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll found that 58 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions[4] and a 2019 Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of Americans think abortion should either be illegal or only legal in a few circumstances.[5]

The government should neither use taxpayer funds for the killing of pre-born children nor compel medical practitioners and institutions to violate their well-founded convictions. Congress must uphold these long-standing, common-sense bipartisan policies that promote a culture of life in our nation.

Human reason and science affirm that human life begins at conception. The Church objects to abortion on the moral principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with respect due to every human person. There has never been and never will be a legitimate need to abort a baby in the womb.

It is critical that Congress continue its long-history of supporting policies such as the Hyde and Walden amendments, and that all Colorado Catholics and people of good will make their voice heard in supporting these life-affirming policies.

Sign the petition to Congress here: www.NoTaxpayerAbortion.com

Contact your Congressional Representatives here: https://cocatholicconference.org/news/

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Denver

Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo

Most Reverend James R. Golka
Bishop of Colorado Springs

Most Reverend Jorge Rodriguez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver