Pope John Paul II this week named Bishop J. Francis Stafford, 53, of Memphis as the new archbishop of the Diocese of Denver.

Stafford, a native of Baltimore and auxiliary bishop there until becoming head of the Memphis diocese in 1983, succeeds Archbishop James V. Casey, who died in March.

His new archdiocese, which he is to take over July 31, has about 330,000 Catholics, many of them Hispanic, which makes it nearly four times the size of his present diocese.

The pope this week also accepted the resignation of Archbishop Peter Gerety, 73, of Newark, N.J., and named Bishop Theodore McCarrick of Metuchen, N.J., to replace him.

Gerety, generally a liberal in church affairs, was best known for his leadership of the "Call to Action," American Catholicism's celebration of the national bicentennial 10 years ago. The two-year program featured a grass-roots effort to examine problems of both church and society and the contributions the church could make toward their solution.

McCarrick, 56, is a former New Yorker who served as auxiliary bishop under the late Cardinal Terence Cooke from 1977 to 1981, when he was installed as the first bishop of the Metuchen Diocese.