November 14, 2009 // Uncategorized

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades named ninth bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend


For more images of the day click the photo.

Press Conference video here
Statement by Bishop John M. D’Arcy

Nov. 14, 2009

I am honored to announce, with great joy, that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has appointed as ninth bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend the present Bishop of Harrisburg (Pennsylvania), Kevin C. Rhoades.

Bishop Rhoades was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Harrisburg in 1983. He has advanced degrees in canon law and theology from the Gregorian University in Rome.

He has served as rector of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. — one of the oldest seminaries in the United States. I was privileged to visit there as part of the apostolic visitation of seminaries in 2005. And even though Bishop Rhoades was no longer at the seminary since he had been appointed as bishop of Harrisburg, one could see among faculty and students great respect for his intelligence, holiness and priestly character.
As a seminarian, he studied Spanish intensely and is fluent in that language. This will be a great blessing, for the increasing number of Hispanic Catholics in our diocese.

There are two important points I would like to make before Bishop Rhoades speaks.

1. This appointment shows the great importance Pope Benedict XVI places on this diocese. He has sent us a well-prepared bishop, who has served five years as bishop of a diocese larger than ours — Harrisburg, Pa., which is also the capital city of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I know from other sources how beloved he is there, and this will be painful for them. A gift for us. A loss for them.

In the Year for Priests, we have received an exemplary priest. He is devoted to sanctification and formation of priests. He has a track record of attracting young men to the priesthood. When he became bishop, there were 11 studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Harrisburg, now there are 25. One of the great issues of the times in light of all we have been through is the careful screening and sound formation of priests, and this is his main expertise. He is dedicated to the spiritual formation of families and young people.

2. Bishop Rhoades is bishop of his home diocese — a place where he grew up in the small town of Mahanoy City, Pa. He probably presumed he would be bishop there for the rest of his life, and he certainly was content there. Yet, he immediately accepted the request of Pope Benedict XVI. Like the apostles in the fifth chapter of Luke, he left everything to follow the call of Christ.

Now, we have an obligation to welcome him with love. To realize, in faith, that he is sent by Christ. To give thanks to God and to the successor of Peter for this great gift. To cooperate with him and collaborate and pray for him from this moment on. He is a sign that the apostolic ministry will continue in our midst. The Eucharist will be celebrated, the Gospel will be proclaimed, sins will be forgiven, priests will be ordained, the poor will be served and the faith will be nourished. Thanks be to God.

I am pleased to tell you that his installation as Bishop is scheduled to take place at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 13, 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI has kindly appointed me as apostolic administrator until the installation on Jan. 13, 2010.

Bishop Rhoades: We welcome you as we would welcome Christ himself, for you have come in his name.

Statement by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades in Fort Wayne and South Bend

Nov. 14, 2009

I am both humbled and honored by Pope Benedict XVI’s appointment of me as ninth bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend. I am particularly humbled to succeed Bishop John D’Arcy, who has served the faithful of this diocese with such great devotion and love for over 24 years. I am deeply grateful to Bishop D’Arcy for his very warm welcome, and I look forward to learning from him about this wonderful diocese as I prepare to become your new shepherd.

I have been bishop of my home diocese of Harrisburg for the past five years. Naturally, it will not be easy for me to bid farewell to my family and friends, my brother priests and the faithful of the Harrisburg diocese. I express my deep gratitude to them for their support, prayers and affection. It has been a tremendous blessing in my life to serve as bishop of Harrisburg and indeed to have served as a priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg for 26 years.

With joyful anticipation, I look forward now to serving as bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend. I look forward to meeting the priests, deacons, men and women in consecrated life, and lay faithful of the diocese. My greatest joys as bishop have been in being with the people, teaching the faith and celebrating the sacraments. I am looking forward to visiting the parishes, schools, and other communities of my new diocese. My only previous visit to this diocese was in 2006 when I visited the University of Notre Dame for a game between my two favorite college football teams, Notre Dame and Penn State. I remember well celebrating holy Mass in the beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus after the Mass.

Bishops serve the church as successors of the apostles. Our Lord Jesus sent the apostles forth with the mandate to teach, sanctify, and serve as he did. Jesus said to the apostles: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (Jn 20:21). I am conscious of “being sent” from Harrisburg to Fort Wayne-South Bend. As I accept this appointment of our Holy Father, I do so with faith and trust in the Lord. I have before my eyes the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life for the sheep. I ask for your prayers that I may be a true shepherd after the heart of Christ.

I pledge to the people of my new diocese my love and my prayers. I was very happy to learn that the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, is the patroness of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Let us implore her intercession that we may fulfill the task which Christ has entrusted to us. Our Blessed Mother accompanies us with her maternal care as we journey together on our earthly pilgrimage of faith, hope and love.

Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades

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