New bishop for U.P. Diocese

MARQUETTE – The Rev. John Doerfler, vicar general of the Diocese of Green Bay, has been appointed by Pope Francis as the 13th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette

The announcement was made Tuesday at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette.

Doerfler said he is getting to know his new diocese.

“My first obligation is to know and love the people, and I will work very hard at that,” he said.

He will be ordained and installed as bishop at St. Peter Cathedral on Feb. 11. He succeeds Archbishop Alexander Sample, who was installed as archbishop of Portland, Ore., on April 2 after serving as bishop of Marquette for seven years. Since then, the Diocese of Marquette has been led by diocesan administrator, the Rev. Francis Dobrzenski of Lake Linden.

Doerfler, who was born on Nov. 2, 1964, in Appleton, Wis., was parochial vicar at St. John Nepomucene Parish in Little Chute, Wis., from 1991-95, and spent the next two years earning his licentiate in canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Upon his return to Wisconsin, Doerfler was appointed defender of the bond for the Diocese of Green Bay and parochial vicar of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay while earning his licentiate in sacred theology from the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family. He received a doctorate in sacred theology from the same institute in 2008.

Other diocesan positions held by Doerfler include assistant chancellor, judge for the Tribunal, chancellor and vicar general, a post he has held since 2005. He also has served as administrator of Holy Trinity Parish in Casco, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and St. John the Evangelist Parish in Green Bay, and St. Joseph Parish in Sturgeon Bay.

Doerfler was sacramental minister of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Green Bay, and St. Martin Parish in Cecil. In addition, he was rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wis., and was a part-time lecturer in moral theology at the Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners.

Organizations with which Doerfler has worked include Teens Encounter Christ, Courage, Widows of Prayer and Retrouivaille.

Doerfler is chaplain to Legatus, a Catholic organization of lay business people, and a member of the Diocesan College of Consultors.

The Upper Peninsula is familiar to him, having cross-country skied here in the past.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Doerfler said. “I love the outdoors.”

He also joked about the region’s snowfall.

“For some reason, I no longer think I will be concerned with a lack of snow,” Doerfler said.

He also had some kind words for the man who appointed him: Pope Francis.

“There’s very much I admire about him,” Doerfler said. “I’m not sure how much I’m like him, but I’d like to be like him.”

Doerfler said he will take part in a retreat Dec. 30 through Jan. 6 to prepare for his episcopal ordination.