Farewell, My Friend

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Bishop Ricken

On May 20, another native son of the Diocese of Green Bay will be ordained a bishop. Fr. Dan Felton will be ordained a successor to the apostles at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth, Minn., as the 10th bishop of Duluth. This will be a very happy day for the church, especially for the Diocese of Duluth, which has been a vacant see since the loss of their good and holy Bishop Paul Serba, who passed away unexpectedly in December of 2019. 

It is also a day of great celebration for us in the Diocese of Green Bay, as we give thanks to Fr. Dan for his ministry as a priest of our diocese for the past 40 years, and pray that God will be with him as begins his new role as bishop. 

At the same time, it must also be said that this will be a great loss to the Diocese of Green Bay and to me as well. Bishop Felton (Fr. Dan) is a very talented person. He has provided exemplary service to our diocese, not only as a priest and pastor, but, more recently, in providing diocesan leadership as a very capable vicar general and moderator of the Curia (chief of staff).

I think it is fair to say that Fr. Dan has been superb at living out his personal call “to put people in right relationship with one another.” Over and over, he has sought to help people “connect to inspire” so as to “nurture abundant life and growth.” This is a unique blessing and gift he has, which has helped us to build a culture of missionary discipleship in our diocese.

As bishop, there is nothing I appreciate more than the love, prayers and devotion of the people of God in the diocese I am called to lead and serve. There is nothing more edifying than to see priests, religious and laity, coming alive in their love of God, who strive to lead a good and holy life and share the Good News with their families and others in their lives and in their neighborhoods. I have been blessed, in serving the Diocese of Green Bay, to witness the power of God’s love, transforming individuals and communities.

Bishop Felton, you will come to know, appreciate and love the priests, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Duluth. They will become your “pearl of great price” and “the diamonds in your own backyard.” They will discover in you a good and faithful shepherd, after the mind and heart of the Good Shepherd, as you assist them in “growing in right relationship with our Lord and with one another.” And, in time, I know that you, too, will get to witness how awesome and transformative God’s love is when we surrender our hearts to him.

May God bless you, my brother, my friend, and protect you from all harm and danger as you say a deeper “yes” to the will of God. Know that your “extended” family here in the Diocese of Green Bay will be supporting you with our prayers in everything you do. God bless you, Bishop Felton!