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Bishop Francis Christian

The Most Rev. Francis Joseph Christian, retired auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, became pastor of St. Joseph in 2003, and continued in his dual role until his retirement as auxilary bishop in February 2018.

He was ordained a bishop by Bishop Leo E. O'Neil on May 14, 1996, when Pope John Paul II appointed him as the Auxiliary Bishop of Manchester.

Bishop Christian was born October 8, 1942 in Peterborough, the only child of the late Joseph L. and Dorothy M. Christian. He attended Jaffrey public schools and is a 1960 graduate of Conant High School.

Bishop Christian studied at Saint Anselm College in Manchester for two years before entering the seminary in 1962. He studied at Saint Paul Seminary in Ottawa from 1962 to 1964 and completed his undergraduate study with a B.A. and a B.Ph. from the University of Ottawa in 1964. He then studied at the American College at the University of Louvain in Belgium, earning a master's degree in theology in 1968.

He was ordained to the priesthood on June 29, 1968. He served three years at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Merrimack and a year at Saint Joseph Cathedral in Manchester, both as parochial vicar, before returning to Louvain in 1973 for doctoral work in moral theology. He completed his Ph.D. summa cum laude in religious studies with a specialization in moral theology in February 1975.

Fr. Christian was appointed assistant chancellor of the Diocese of Manchester in March 1975, and was made chancellor in June 1977. Pope John Paul II named him a prelate of honor, which includes the title "Monsignor," in 1986.

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