From the Vatican this morning…
VATICAN CITY, 14 JUL 2008 (VIS) – The Holy Father appointed Fr. John LeVoir of the clergy of the archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of St. Michael and Mary in Stillwater as bishop of New Ulm (area 25,535, population 284,793, Catholics 66,785, priests 58, permanent deacons 3, religious 60), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Minneapolis in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1981.
See the website for the diocese of New Ulm for all the details.
This is great news for the diocese of New Ulm and for the Church! He is an excellent priest; when I first met him, he immediately impressed me as a man radiant in goodness.
Among his accomplishments, he and Fr. Richard Hogan penned one of the first books about the Theology of the Body: Covenant of Love: Pope John Paul II on Sexuality, Marriage and the Family.
He also was appointed by Archbishop Flynn as the first chaplain of Faith in Action, the local chapter of Courage in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. He was interviewed about Courage and same-sex attraction by Catholic Parents Online (audio podcast available here).
Here’s a statement from the bishop-elect:
My background is that of a parish priest. I was an Associate Pastor at St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony for eleven years, and Pastor of Holy Trinity in South St. Paul for twelve years and for four of those years, I was at the same time Pastor of St. Augustine in South St. Paul. I have been Pastor of St. Michael and St. Mary in Stillwater since 2004.
I am grateful to the parishioners of all of these parishes for their goodness to me. I am especially grateful to the late Monsignor Richard Schuler for the support that he gave me during my seminary years and for Father Francis Kittock, who was my Pastor and mentor at St. Charles Borromeo where I was his Associate.
I am particularly grateful to my parents, Marvin A. LeVoir, now deceased, and Mary A. LeVoir, now 93 years old, and to my brothers Frederick J. LeVoir and Paul W. LeVoir, and my sister, Mary Ellen Steinkraus.
In his retirement years, I was blessed to have known Bishop Alphonse Schladweiler, the founding Bishop of the New Ulm diocese. He was a kind and gentle shepherd.
I am pleased that this announcement is being made on July 14, the Feast of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680). She was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II. Kateri is the first Native American to be declared Blessed.
I am going to be a new Bishop. I know that I have much to learn about serving as a Bishop and about the New Ulm diocese. Archbishop Nienstedt has assured me of his advice and help. I appreciate that so much. I ask the clergy, the religious, and the people of the diocese to be patient with me and to pray for me, as I will for them. With the help of God’s grace, I will do my best to be a faithful shepherd.