Bishop Kettler officially welcomed in vespers service

Categories: Around the Diocese

By Bob Zyskowski

Five thumps on the huge wooden doors of St. Mary’s Cathedral Nov. 6 signaled the arrival of Bishop Donald J. Kettler to become the new leader of the more than 160,000 Catholics in the Diocese of St. Cloud.

The packed downtown St. Cloud church filled with prayer, music, incense and applause from scores of clergy, hundreds of lay people, religious and civic leaders at the evening vesper service welcoming the bishop.

KettlerindoorAll was in anticipation of Bishop Kettler’s installation Nov. 7 (2 p.m. at St. Mary’s) when he would officially take the seat of the bishop in the cathedral as the ninth ordinary of the central Minnesota diocese.

At the vesper service, Bishop Kettler ceremoniously asked to be recognized, showing his letter of appointment to the St. Cloud see to retiring Bishop John Kinney and to diocesan consultors in the presence of chancellor Benedictine Sister Nancy Bauer.

Vicar general Father Robert Rolfes read the apostolic mandate from Pope Francis and welcomed the bishop on behalf of the diocese.

After sustained applause, Bishop Kettler thanked first Bishop Kinney “for the foundation of faith” he had continued as bishop of St. Cloud, and the cathedral burst into applause and a standing ovation in acknowledgment of Bishop Kinney’s 18 years as their bishop.

Catholic and civic leaders — priests of the diocese, the permanent diaconate community, religious men and women, ecumenical, government and multicultural communities and the youth and young adults of the diocese —  greeted Bishop Kettler on behalf of those they represent.

In a homily, Bishop Kettler spoke of how much he had learned from native communities in the Diocese of Fairbanks, saying he brings the conviction “we are all one people, informed and graced by God” to the Diocese of St. Cloud and her people.

“Your diocese — our diocese,” Bishop Kettler said, “is blessed, and I am blessed to be here.”

See more photos from vespers service welcoming Bishop Kettler