Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Last month, we received the long-awaited news that Pope Francis appointed a new bishop to shepherd the Diocese of St. Cloud. This is an exciting time for everyone in the diocese! I realize some people may also be a bit anxious, not knowing much about the bishop-elect and how he will lead the diocese. I want to assure you that you are in good hands. Father Neary and I talked a great deal during his initial visit. I am very impressed with his background and the gifts he brings to his ministry as bishop.
He is first and foremost a pastor and has a pastor’s heart. He has been serving as a pastor of a diverse parish in Portland, Oregon, for the last five years and has previous campus ministry experience. As a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, he is rooted in the order’s education ministry and understands the importance of education and ongoing formation for laity and clergy alike. He has spent time serving in East Africa and brings a global perspective to his ministry. He also speaks fluent Spanish, which is a blessing as we improve our pastoral outreach to our Latino brothers and sisters in the diocese.
Please join me in giving Bishop-elect Neary a warm welcome! He has already learned much about our Church in central Minnesota, and he will learn much more when he begins to visit our parishes, Area Catholic Communities and religious communities.
As for me, I will very much miss the people of this diocese. But I am also looking forward to retirement and what this new chapter of life will bring. In the meantime, I will continue to lead the diocese as apostolic administrator until Bishop-elect Neary’s ordination and installation on Feb. 14. We have much to do as a diocese with regard to the synod, Eucharistic Revival, pastoral planning, etc. These will remain priorities into the future under the new bishop.
Please keep Bishop-elect Neary and me in your prayers as we continue to pray for you and our diocese.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop Donald J. Kettler
Diocese of Saint Cloud
Top photo: Bishop Donald Kettler, left, and Bishop-elect Patrick Neary walk outside of Cathedral High School in St. Cloud Dec. 16. (Dianne Towalski / The Central Minnesota Catholic)