Farewell Mass with Bishop Kettler: ‘The light of God has shown brightly on this diocese’

A public farewell was held for Bishop Donald Kettler on Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Cathedral of St. Mary in St. Cloud, where he presided at the 9:30 a.m. Mass. The bishop will officially enter retirement following the ordination of Bishop-elect Patrick Neary, C.S.C., on Feb. 14.

The Gospel reading was from Matthew 5:13-16, in which Jesus tells his disciples: “You are the light of the world” and that their light must shine before others. Bishop Kettler referenced the passage in his homily.

“The light of God has shown brightly on this diocese and people of the Diocese of St. Cloud,” he said. “I have been blessed by God to see and know that light. I have tried not to let [myself] dim that light or get in the way of the light shining on others. I thank God for being his instrument of light, and I ask God’s forgiveness when I blocked that light. I have been blessed by God to see, meet, and work with so many instruments of God’s light. I am speaking about those of you who are here in this cathedral today.”

He said he looks back on his 52 years of priesthood and 20 years as bishop with gratitude and joy.

“With the transition to being an instrument of God’s light moving to Bishop Patrick Neary, I extend this episcopal ministry to him with joy and peace, but also knowing that, as always, the Church and her people face challenges and new opportunities on their journeys to the Kingdom of God,” Bishop Kettler said. “God and you will walk with him. What a blessing he is being given as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud.”

At the end of Mass, Bishop Kettler was recognized with a standing ovation. A reception was held after Mass in the lower church, where people celebrated his ministry and thanked him for his nine years as shepherd of the diocese.

Bishop Donald Kettler at the reception following Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud (photos by Gianna Bonello / The Central Minnesota Catholic)
The assembly gave Bishop Kettler a standing ovation at the end of Mass. Jane Marrin, chancellor of the diocese, and Father Scott Pogatchnik, rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral, offered remarks about the bishop.
Cards from students across the diocese were hung up in the lower church.
Above and below: Bishop Kettler greeted guests after Mass.


Top photo: Bishop Kettler celebrates Mass Feb. 5 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud.

Author: Gianna Bonello

Gianna Bonello is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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