New auxiliary bishop for military archdiocese

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WASHINGTON - Msgr. Robert J. Coyle, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., who spent 10 years of his priesthood in the military chaplaincy, has been appointed an auxiliary bishop of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.

Bishop-designate Coyle, 48, is a retired Navy reservist. He has been pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Mineola, N.Y., since 2009.

The appointment was announced Feb. 11 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde said in a statement, "The prayers and good wishes of our diocesan family accompany Bishop-elect Coyle as he prepares for his episcopal ordination.

"His ministry will strengthen and expand the devoted pastoral care by Archbishop Timothy Broglio and the other three auxiliaries (Bishop Richard B. Higgins, episcopal vicar for veterans affairs; Bishop F. Richard Spencer, episcopal vicar for Europe and Asia; and Bishop Neal J. Buckon, episcopal vicar for the western half of the United States) to our military brothers and sisters worldwide."

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, the head of the U.S. military archdiocese, will ordain him a bishop April 25 in a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

His appointment shows the pope's "pastoral concern for the faithful of the Archdiocese for the Military Services," Archbishop Broglio said in a statement.

He expressed gratitude to the pope, to Bishop-designate Coyle for accepting "this new mission and to Rockville Centre Bishop William F. Murphy and the faithful of the diocese, "who have prepared and now given this faithful priest to all of us."

Bishop-designate Coyle said he looks forward to assisting Archbishop Broglio "in service to the people of this vast archdiocese."

"Ever grateful for the many members of the military family who have shaped my life over the last 25 years, I especially ask for the intercession of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, patroness of the sea services," he said. "In this Year of Faith, I now set out on a new course in service to Our Lord Jesus and his church. May we pray for one another."

Bishop-designate Coyle served 24 and a half years on active and reserve duty before his retirement from the Navy Reserve on Jan. 1 of this year.

Bishop Murphy said the Diocese of Rockville Centre "will be losing a fine priest and a very dedicated pastor," but added that all in the diocese "can take pride that the Holy Father has turned to the presbyterate of our diocese to choose a bishop to serve the young men and women who defend our country and are true peacemakers around the world."

Robert J. Coyle was born Sept. 23, 1964, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Jesuit-run Fordham University in 1986. He was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy June 3, 1988.

He graduated from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y., with master of divinity and master of arts in theology degrees in 1991 and that year was ordained a priest for the Rockville Centre Diocese.

As a Navy Reserve chaplain, then-Father Coyle served as associate pastor at St. Dominic Church in Oyster Bay, N.Y., from 1991 to 1996 and St. Patrick's Church in Glen Cove, N.Y., from 1996 to 1999.

He served on active duty from 1999 to 2009. He was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa, Japan, from 1999 to 2000, during which time he was promoted to lieutenant commander and deployed to Southeast Asia as landing force chaplain.

During a three-year assignment aboard the USS Harry S. TRUMAN Aircraft Carrier from 2000 to 2003, he deployed to the Middle East from 2000-2001 and served in Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2002 to 2003. Assigned to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., from 2003 to 2007, Father Coyle reported first as assistant command chaplain before assuming duties as command chaplain.

In April 2005, Father Coyle was promoted to the rank of U.S. Navy commander. From 2007 to 2009, he served on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Aircraft Carrier and deployed to the Middle East in 2009 for Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2008, Pope Benedict named him a monsignor.

In August 2009, Msgr. Coyle separated from active duty, returned to reserve status and was name pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Mineola.

The archdiocese, based in Washington, provides pastoral care and spiritual services to military members and their families, veterans and federal employees around the globe.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 1970