ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Archbishop Frances T. Hurley's resignation as archbishop of Anchorage has been accepted by Pope John Paul II.
The Archdiocese of Anchorage announced the decision in a press release Friday.
Archbishop Roger L. Schweitz, who has been coadjutor archbishop since Jan. 18, 2000 automatically succeeds Hurley.
Hurley said he was appreciative of the pope accepting his resignation.
''I had told the priests months ago that for me the active transfer of jurisdiction was a matter of timing,'' he said. ''My message to the Holy Father was simply, 'It is time.'''
Hurley, 74, will celebrate 50 years as a priest on June 16. He has been a bishop in Alaska for more than 30 years and the archbishop of Anchorage since 1976.
Hurley is a native of San Francisco. He was educated there and in St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif.
He was ordained to the priesthood on June 16, 1951, and served as assistant pastor in Holy Name Parish in San Francisco and as a teacher at Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif. He did graduate work in sociology and education at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and at the University of California, Berkley.
After serving with the National Catholic Welfare Conference, Hurley was named auxiliary bishop of Juneau in 1970. A month later he was ordained a bishop by his brother, Bishop Mark Hurley of Santa Rosa, Calif.
The Hurleys were one of five brother-bishop combinations in the history of the church in the United States. Retired Bishop Mark Hurley died Feb. 5 in San Francisco.
Under Francis Hurley's direction, 12 Catholic churches were constructed in Alaska, including five in the Diocese of Juneau and seven in the Archdiocese of Anchorage.
Schweitz will become the third archbishop of Anchorage since its founding in 1966 by the late Archbishop Joseph T. Ryan.
Schweitz for 10 years had been bishop of Duluth, Minn.
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