Msgr. Robert McClory has been a student, a lawyer, a seminarian, a pastor and a chancellor. Now, he will take on a new challenge as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Gary, Ind.

Pope Francis announced the appointment of Msgr. McClory, 56, as Gary’s next bishop on Nov. 26.

The current pastor of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak will now lead a diocese that covers 1,807 square miles in northwest Indiana, hugging four counties along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

“I am honored and humbled that the Holy Father has appointed me as the bishop of Gary,” Bishop-elect McClory said in a statement. “During this week in which we celebrate Thanksgiving, my heart is full of thanksgiving that he has entrusted me to serve the people of northwest Indiana. I look forward to getting to know the needs of our local church and, together, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Bishop-elect McClory is scheduled to be consecrated a bishop and installed on Feb. 11, 2020, succeeding Bishop Donald Hying, who was appointed bishop of Madison, Wis., in April.

Bishop-elect McClory’s appointment marks the fifth time since 1980 a priest with ties to the Shrine has been made a bishop, and the second Shrine pastor in a row. In 2016, Pope Francis tapped then-Shrine pastor Bishop Robert Fisher to become a Detroit auxiliary bishop.

Bishop-elect McClory succeeded Bishop Fisher as Shrine’s pastor on July 1, 2017, after serving for eight years as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Detroit, functioning as Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron’s chief of staff in the guidance of the archdiocese’s Central Services.

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