Samuel J. Aquila was born on September 24, 1950, in Burbank,
California. He was ordained to the priesthood in Denver,
Colorado, on June 5, 1976, and served in parish ministry for 11
years. In 1987, he began graduate studies at San Anselmo
University in Rome, earning a Licentiate in Sacramental
Theology in 1990.
He served as Director for the Office of Liturgy and Master of
Ceremonies in the Archdiocese of Denver from 1990 until 1995.
He served the archdiocese as Co-director for Continuing
Education for Priests, as an advisor to the Bishop’s Committee
on the Liturgy, and as Assistant Secretary for Catholic
Education before being named Secretary for Catholic Education,
a position he held from 1995 until 1999.
From 1999-2001, he served as the first Rector of St. John
Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver and Chief Executive
Officer of Our Lady of the New Advent Theological Institute. In
2000, he was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope John Paul II,
receiving the honorary title of Monsignor.
He was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Fargo on June 12, 2001,
and his Episcopal Ordination Mass was celebrated at St. Mary’s
Cathedral in Fargo on August 24, 2001. On March 18, 2002, he
became bishop of Fargo, upon the retirement of Bishop James
Sullivan. On February 24, 2005, he was also named Interim
Administrator for the Diocese of Sioux Falls. He served in this
position until Most Rev. Paul J. Swain was ordained as the new
bishop of the Diocese of Sioux Falls on October 26, 2006.
Archbishop Aquila serves on the Bishops’ Advisory Council for
the Institute for Priestly Formation. He is a member of the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in which he has
served as a member of various committees.