Ordained! New bishop for Catholic Diocese of Marquette

MARQUETTE – With St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette filled to capacity, Bishop John F. Doerfler was ordained and installed as the thirteenth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette on Tuesday. Bishop Doerfler was the Vicar General of the Diocese of Green Bay when he was appointed bishop of Marquette on Dec. 17, 2013.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, was the principal ordaining bishop at the episcopal ordination and installation. He was joined by the former bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, Archbishop Alexander K. Sample of Portland in Oregon, and Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay as co-consecrating bishops.

During the first portion of the Mass, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigan, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, read the apostolic letter from Pope Francis confirming the Holy Father’s appointment of Bishop Doerfler.

Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh delivered the homily. Bishop Doerfler served as a priest under Bishop Zubik when he was bishop of Green Bay from 2003 to 2007.

In his homily, Bishop Zubik addressed Bishop Doerfler, telling him, “Prayerfully, I am so very proud of you todayThank you for saying ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call to you.” Then he noted that this was the second time in the Diocese of Marquette’s 160-year history that it has received its bishop from the Diocese of Green Bay.

The late Bishop Mark F. Schmitt was the auxiliary bishop of Green Bay before he was installed as the tenth bishop of Marquette in 1978.

Following the homily, Archbishop Vigneron imposed his hands on Bishop Doerfler’s head, expressing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The laying on of hands is the heart of the ordination rite. As co-consecrators, Archbishop Sample and Bishop Ricken did the same, followed by the many bishops present, who came from lower Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey and Oregon.

Archbishop Vigneron then anointed Bishop Doerfler’s head with sacred chrism as a sign of the bishop’s distinctive share in the priesthood of Christ. The archbishop also presented Bishop Doerfler with the Book of the Gospels as a symbol of his preaching and teaching ministry. Finally, the bishop received the following symbols of his pastoral office: the episcopal ring, signifying his fidelity to the church, the Bride of Christ; the miter, a liturgical headdress, traditionally signifying the bishop’s reception of wisdom; and the crosier, a pastoral staff that reflects his role as one who gathers and shepherds the People of God. The crosier was made by Father Allen Mott of Gwinn and was a gift from the priests of the diocese.

Next, Archbishop Vigneron invited Bishop Doerfler to sit in the bishop’s chair, called the cathedra. At that moment, he was officially installed as bishop of the Diocese of Marquette.

During the portion of the Mass where the sign of peace is exchanged among those in attendance, Bishop Doerfler exchanged the sign of peace with various representatives of the community, including Rev. Louis Bracket, oldest member of the diocesan clergy; Rev. James Ziminski, a seminary classmate of the new bishop; Deacons Thomas Corrigan and Stephen Gualdoni (deacon community); Sister Gloria Schultz (religious); Connie Sagataw (Native Americans); Robert Niemi, mayor of Marquette (community); Bishop Thomas Skrenes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Bishop Rayford Ray of the Episcopal Church; Rev. Elbert Dulworth of the United Methodist Church; and Dr. Daniel Arnold of the Jewish Community (religious community).

Near the end of the Mass, Bishop Doerfler addressed the people for the first time as their bishop. “What a joy it is to be with you today,” he said. Then he shared with those present the core of his intended pastoral thrust in the diocese. “I have a three-fold invitation to you. Be a friend of Jesus, make a friend, and introduce your friend to Jesus.” After asking for and receiving everyone’s assent to do that, Bishop Doerfler said, “Wonderful! That will keep us busy until Christ comes again.”

Following the liturgy, hundreds of people from across the Upper Peninsula greeted the new bishop at a reception held in the cathedral parish hall.