Monsignor John T. Folda, who has been appointed Bishop of Fargo by Pope Francis, says he hopes to follow the Pope’s example of service, simplicity and joyful faith.
“I only hope I can follow the beautiful example of service, simplicity, and joyful faith that he has already shown the world,” said Bishop-designate Folda in a statement released April 8.
“It is certainly an honor to be chosen by him for this role,” he said.
The bishop-designate comes from the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb. and will be ordained a bishop at Fargo’s Cathedral of Saint Mary in June.
The Bishop of Lincoln, James D. Conley, said the diocese “rejoiced” at the appointment of the eighth Bishop of Fargo, but that he would also “be deeply missed.”
“I have known Msgr. Folda for over 20 years and I know that he will be a stellar bishop,” said Bishop Conley in a letter published today by the Diocese of Lincoln.
“His vast experience, as well as his keen intelligence, his personal humility, and his dedication to Jesus Christ and his Church will prepare Bishop-elect Folda well to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful of the Diocese of Fargo,” Bishop Conley stated.
Denver’s Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, who led the Fargo diocese until 11 months ago, said he offered his “sincere congratulations, prayers and friendship.”
“Bishop-elect Folda is a man of deep faith, warm leadership and unwavering fidelity to the teachings of the Church,” Archbishop Aquila said in an April 8 statement.
“My heart is filled with joy for the Church of Fargo,” he added.
Bishop-designate Folda had been working as the rector of the Minor Seminary Saint Gregory the Great in Seward, Neb., for nearly 14 years.
The 51-year-old studied engineering at the University of Nebraska, after attending Archbishop Ryan High School in Omaha.
He entered the seminary and studied divinity at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa.
The bishop-designate then studied spiritual theology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
He was ordained a priest in 1989 for the Lincoln diocese and worked as assistant pastor for the Cathedral of the Risen Christ.
The Diocese of Fargo, where he will be serving as bishop, has a population of 396,000 of which 89,400 are Catholics.
The diocese has 126 religious, 120 priests and 43 permanent deacons.
April 8 was also a notable day for Bishop Michael O. Jackels, whom Pope Francis named as Archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa.
He also appointed Reynaldo Gonda Evangelista as Bishop of Imus, Philippines, and Botros Fahim Awad Hanna as Bishop of Minya, Egypt.