The bishop of Salt Lake City since 2007, Wester will become the leader of an estimated 300,000 Roman Catholics in New Mexico on June 4 when he is installed as the 12th Archbishop of Santa Fe at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe. He will succeed Archbishop of Santa Fe Michael Sheehan, who will step down after 22 years in the post.
Hours after the appointment was announced, Wester spoke of the Catholic Church’s commitment to social justice and praised Pope Francis’ reorientation of the church toward poverty and social issues.
“I feel a real affinity and closeness with our Holy Father, Pope Francis,” Wester, 64, said at a news conference at the Archdiocese of Santa Fe offices in Albuquerque. “I think he’s leading us very beautifully. I’m very encouraged by the direction he has taken us.”