Bishop Ricken

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The Most Rev. David L. Ricken is the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

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Farewell to Bishop-elect Doerfler

By Bishop David Ricken | January 8, 2014

The Diocese of Green Bay has received a very distinguished compliment in that one of our own priests has been chosen to be a bishop.  Fr. John Doerfler, now Bishop-elect Doerfler, has been chosen to be the 13th bishop of Marquette, Mich., and this is not only a compliment to him, but to the Diocese of Green Bay as well.

Bishop-elect Doerfler has served this diocese very well in pastoral assignment and especially in official assignments at the Chancery office in Green Bay. He has a doctorate in moral theology and a license degree in canon law and has put this training to excellent use here in the diocese. He is also very involved in several ministries to prayer groups, the Legatus organization as chaplain, and to the “Courage Ministries” which he will miss a great deal.

His mother mentioned in one of her comments to the press that her son always wanted to teach in a seminary. Having heard that desire of his heart over the last few years, I was able to free Fr. Doerfler this past semester to teach at Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corners, Wis. At least he was able to fulfill his dream for one semester. Now the Lord and the church have called him to share in the fullness of the priesthood as a bishop, to teach, govern and sanctify a portion of the people of God in a given flock called a diocese.

Having come from three very rural dioceses out West, the Diocese of Dodge City, Kan., where I grew up; the Diocese of Pueblo, Colo., where I served as a priest and where most of my family lives; and the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo., where I served my first eight years as a bishop, I know that Bishop Doerfler will grow to love the people of his new rural diocese. He will have to get used to driving to reach out to them and to connect them to their diocese, to his ministry and to the universal church.

As bishop of Cheyenne (that diocese encompasses the whole state), I used to log at least 45,000 miles of driving myself each year and I would not trade it for anything. I used to joke that the people of Wyoming are great, once you get to them.

Bishop Doerfler will grow in his love for Christ and for the church as he serves and leads the good priests, religious and lay faithful of our wonderful neighbor to the north in the Upper Peninsula, the Diocese of Marquette. One of our former auxiliary bishops served as the diocesan bishop of Marquette as well, Bishop Mark Schmidt, from 1978 until his retirement in 1992. He was much loved in the diocese and I know Bishop-elect Doerfler will be as well.

We send Bishop-elect Doerfler as a gift to another diocese knowing that we will miss him terribly but with a generous spirit and great gratitude for his many years of service and friendship.

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