See below for a slide show of photos from the Mass and press conference

ROCKVILLE CENTRE — Msgr. Andrzej Jerzy Zglejszewski, 52, a native of Poland who “came here 27 years ago for my Christmas vacation” and stayed to study for and be ordained to the priesthood, has been appointed an auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Bishop William Murphy, who announced the appointment at today’s 7:45 a.m. Mass in St. Agnes Cathedral, later expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis “for giving our diocese this good and holy priest of many talents to assist me in the pastoral care of the 1.5 million Catholics of our diocese.

“I know,” Bishop Murphy told a morning news conference, “the priests, deacons, liturgical ministers and all the People of God will welcome this appointment from our Holy Father as I have, with gratitude to God and with great joy.”

“I am overwhelmed with the sense of my unworthiness,” Bishop-elect Zglejszewski said at the news conference. “For that reason, I turn all my emotions and wonders into a song of gratitude.”

He thanked Pope Francis, later praising the Holy Father’s “great spirit of humility” which, he said, “is helping us be open to the needs of others – especially those who are underprivileged.”

He thanked Bishop Murphy for “giving me an opportunity to serve the people of God here on Long Island, first of all as parish priest, then as the diocesan Director of the Office of Worship, and then as Co-Chancellor.” Bishop-elect Zglejszewski served as associate pastor at St. Christopher, Baldwin; St. Thomas the Apostle, West Hempstead, and St. Rose of Lima, Massapequa, before Bishop Murphy appointed him to direct the Office of Worship in 2007. In 2010 he was named Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Monsignor, and in 2013 Bishop Murphy named him Co-Chancellor for the diocese.

“I am grateful to all the faithful on Long Island,” the new bishop added. “I was always touched by their faith and love. Being away from my home in Poland for more than half of my life,” he said, “now, today, I can say that I am home – a home made of open hearts, which gently accepted me here not as a stranger,” he said, “but as a brother, a friend, and a priest.”

Bishop Murphy will ordain Bishop-Elect Zglejszewski at the Cathedral of St. Agnes on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.

While he awaits new assignments that he knows will come with his new office, Bishop-elect Zglejszewski said he also looks forward to continuing the work he undertook as head of the Office of Worship in implementing “the great liturgical reform we started in our diocese with the third edition of the Roman Missal.”

That process of reform “is never over,” he said, as it helps Catholics on Long Island “belong more deeply” to the life of the Church through worship and the sacraments.

On this feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, “I turn to Mary and Joseph,” Bishop-elect Zglejszewski said, “and ask them for their assistance and help.”

He also asked “for the prayers of my fellow Long Islanders,” saying he wants “to continue my life in humble service to all in the fight for freedom, justice and love.”

Bishop-Elect Zglejszewski was born in Czarna Biarostocta, Poland on December 18, 1961. The son of Tadeusz and Anna Zglejszewski, Andrzej studied philosophy and theology in Bialystok before coming to the United States in 1987. He completed his studies for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre by Bishop John R. McGann on May 26, 1990.

Click here to read Bishop-Elect Zglejszewski’s statement on his appointment as bishop.

Photos by Gregory A. Shemitz