Bishop Brennan’s Family, Fellow Priests Share Hopes for His Next Chapter in the Diocese of Brooklyn

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By Jessica Easthope

He promises to be a bishop for the people – and Bishop Robert Brennan’s siblings say you can take his word for it.

“He’s a roll with the punches kind of guy so when something comes up, he’ll find the goodness, he’s somebody you can count on – someone you can go to,” said Bishop Brennan’s sister, Patty Conlon.

His sister, Patty, and brother, Tom, say as the oldest, Bishop Brennan knows how to be level-headed. That’s what people can expect for his leadership too.

“He’s an incredible uncle, an incredible pastor, the kids are all happy to have Uncle Bob home and it’s nice,” said his brother, Tom Brennan.

“Uncle Bob” to his family – but shepherd to more than one million Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens. In his homily, Tuesday Bishop Brennan says he’s jumping headfirst into his new role.

“This is now home,” he said. “This is home. I look forward to living and praying among you to serving you with every ounce of my being.”

Bishop Brennan had plenty of family support at his installation Mass Nov. 30, as well as brother priests celebrating his next step. Cardinal Timothy Dolan says he has no doubt his approach to the job will be to listen first.

“He’s going to say ‘hey I’m going into a great diocese, I’m going to stop, look and listen I’m going to get around and see if there needs to be any new emphasis,’ he’ll be a pro at that,” said Cardinal Dolan.

On Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio’s second day as leader of the Diocese of Brooklyn, he attended an immigration rally. Bishop Brennan was by his side. Bishop DiMarzio says he sees it as foreshadowing that another man, also passionate about immigration is taking over.

“You have somebody that has the skills necessary,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “It’s a complex diocese, a fast-moving diocese. It is New York so he’s able to do it.”

Bishop Brennan has only hinted about his plan for the diocese, but his family says he’ll put evangelization ahead of it all.

“He hopes to bring more people back into the religion and I’m sure he will,” said his godmother, Peggy McGurk. “It’s by word of mouth, everybody just wants to go see him.”