WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Holy See announced today that Pope Francis has named two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, (AMS). His Holiness elected Father William (Bill) Muhm, Captain, Navy Chaplain Corps (Ret.), titular Bishop-elect of Capsus, and Father Joseph L. Coffey, Captain (Select), Navy Chaplain Corps, titular Bishop-elect of Arsacalitan.
Fathers Muhm and Coffey will replace Auxiliary Bishops Richard B. Higgins, who is retiring this year, and Robert J. Coyle, who was transferred last year as an Auxiliary to the diocese of Rockville Centre, NY. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, will ordain the two priests bishops in a solemn Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.
Commenting on the appointments, Archbishop Broglio said: “The Bishop of Rome has once again looked with pastoral solicitude on the global Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and recognized the need to assure adequate care of the 1.8 million faithful entrusted to her. I am delighted that both candidates have accepted to serve in a new way. They bring vast experience and deep pastoral solicitude to their new role.”
Father Muhm said: “I’m greatly honored and humbled to be chosen by our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Father to be a bishop of the Universal Church and an auxiliary bishop of the AMS, which provides Catholic ministry and spiritual services to VERY important Americans: service members, members of their families, cadets and midshipmen, civilians stationed overseas, and veterans at VA Hospitals.”
Father Coffey said: “I am humbled and honored to have been chosen by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to assist Archbishop Broglio in his duties as the chief shepherd for the AMS. I am extremely grateful to my three shepherds from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Justin Cardinal Rigali, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who have given me the necessary permission to serve on active duty in the US Navy Chaplain Corps for these last 17 years.”
Here follows additional background information on the two bishops-elect.
Bishop-Elect William (Bill) Muhm
Bishop-Elect William (Bill) Muhm, son of the late James and Anne Muhm, was born in Billings, MT, in 1957 and raised in Denver, CO. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.) in Business Administration from Colorado State University in 1980. He attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, RI, and was commissioned an Ensign in the Navy Supply Corps in July 1981. After graduating from Navy Supply Corps School, he served aboard USS BELLEAU WOOD (LHA-3), making two Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployments, and an assignment to the Naval Air Engineering Station in Lakehurst, NJ. After release from active duty, he worked as an accountant. From 1986-1989, he also served as a Navy Reserve Supply Corps Officer.
In 1989, Father Muhm entered the minor seminary for the Archdiocese of New York, under the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program (CSP), a vocations partnership between the AMS and participating U.S. dioceses and religious communities. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) in Yonkers, NY, and was ordained a priest in 1995 by John Cardinal O’Connor. Father Muhm served in the Archdiocese of New York at parishes in Ossining and Staten Island. From 1996 to 1998, he served as a Navy Reserve Chaplain with Fleet Hospital 22.
In 1998, Father Muhm returned to active duty as a navy chaplain. His assignments included Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan; USS WASP (LHD-1), making an extended post-9/11 deployment in the Arabian Sea; postgraduate studies at Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, CA; Training Support Center Great Lakes, IL; 1st Marine Division, deploying to Anbar Province, Iraq; U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD; USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD-6)/CTF-76, home ported in Sasebo, Japan; 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Camp Lejeune, NC; and II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune. Father Muhm retired from the Navy on May 1, 2018.
Father Muhm’s military awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars, Navy Commendation Medal with gold star, and Navy Achievement Medalwith gold star, and Fleet Marine Force Officer Qualification.
With permission from Cardinal Dolan, Father Muhm enjoyed a sabbatical from May 1 to December 1, 2018. The sabbatical included a 30-day Jesuit retreat, a cross-country road trip to visit family and friends, walking 787 kilometers of the Camino of Santiago de Compostela with two priest friends and one seminarian friend, and six weeks at the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
Father Muhm has served since December 1, 2018 as Administrator of Most Precious Blood Parish in Walden, NY. “I’m very sad to be leaving Most Precious Blood Parish so soon after arriving there,” Father Muhm said, “but I’m very grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ for his great love for me and for calling me through the Holy Father and Archbishop Broglio to serve the great Americans of the AMS. I look forward to it very much and ask for everyone’s prayers.”
Bishop-Elect Joseph L. Coffey
Bishop-elect Joseph L. Coffey, son of the late Dr. William F. X Coffey, M.D., and Roseanita Schubert Coffey, was born in Rochester, MN, on May 31, 1960. He is the fifth of nine children and the proud uncle of 46 nieces and nephews and 12 great nieces and nephews. He was raised in Philadelphia and is a life-long fan of all the Philly sports teams.
Father Coffey graduated from La Salle University in 1982 with a double major in English/French which included a year of study at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. After college, Father Coffey worked as a grade school teacher, a ski instructor in Switzerland, and in the automobile industry in Germany and Belgium for five years.
Heeding a call to the priesthood, he attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree (MDiv) and was ordained in 1996 by Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua. He earned a Master of Arts (MA) in Moral Theology, also from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 2000.
While still in seminary, Father Coffey was given permission by Cardinal Bevilacqua to enter the U.S. Navy Chaplain Candidate Program in May of 1992 with the rank of Ensign. He stayed in the Navy Reserve for the next nine years.
Following ordination in 1996, Father Coffey was assigned as an Associate Pastor to St. Katherine of Siena parish in Philadelphia, PA. After five years in parish ministry, he was given permission by Cardinal Bevilacqua for full-time active duty as a Navy Chaplain in September of 2001.
Chaplain Coffey’s duty assignments have included: Combat Assault Battalion, Okinawa,
Japan; Division Officer and Command Chaplain on board USS GEORGE WASHINGTON
(CVN 73), homeported in Norfolk, VA, with a 6 month deployment to the Arabian
Gulf; Command Chaplain at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center, Cape May, NJ; Marine
Air Group 39, Camp Pendleton, CA, an assignment that included a seven-month month deployment to Camp Leatherneck, Helmand Provence, Afghanistan; U.S. Navy Recruiting Command, St. Louis, MO; Command Chaplain on USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76), home ported in Yokosuka, Japan, with a six-month deployment to the South Pacific Ocean; and his current assignment is Assistant Chief of Staff for Religious Ministry, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA.
Father Coffey’s military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with 2 gold stars, the Navy Achievement Medal with 2 gold stars, the Navy Sea Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the NATO Service Medal, 3 Battle E Ribbons.
“I have been so blessed,” Father Coffey said, “to have had two loving parents who gave me the gift of life and sharing the Catholic faith with me and a very large extended family, who have made my life so full, meaningful and joyful. I have tried to share that with the good people of St. Katherine’s parish as an Assistant pastor and the Sailors, Marines, and ‘Coasties’ that I have served with as a priest chaplain. I am grateful to the many priest friends who have shared this beautiful calling to the priesthood with me, who have led by holy example, and who have shared this adventure of life and the priesthood with me. I pray that I will serve the Lord and his people in the Military well in this new responsibility. I ask for your prayers for me and be assured of mine every day.”