Today it was announced that an Indiana priest, Fr. Paul D. Etienne, will become the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Fr. Etiene, 50, who is currently a pastor in Tell City, Indiana will fill a see that has been vacant since July 2008.
Upon hearing of the appointment, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley of Denver praised the new bishop, whose diocese is within the Province of Denver.
“Bishop-elect Paul D. Etienne comes to the Diocese of Cheyenne with an outstanding record of zeal and pastoral leadership in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis,” the bishops said before noting that the bishop-elect's new diocese, which includes the entire state of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park is “a blend of great people and great beauty, great distances and huge potential.”
“The youth and energy that Bishop-elect Etienne brings to his new ministry will serve the Catholic community here in the Rocky Mountain West extraordinarily well,” the bishops wrote.
Etienne, 50, grew up as one of six children to parents who have been married over 50 years. Two of his brothers are priests and his sister is a religious. The Diocese of Cheyenne stated that Etienne graduated from the University of St. Thomas / St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. with a degree in Business Administration before studying at the North American College in Rome and receiving a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Following his priestly ordination in 1992 for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Fr. Etienne worked as an associate pastor and assistant vocation director before traveling to Rome to receive his License in Spiritual Theology.
Upon his return to the U.S., he served as the vocation director for the archdiocese, vice-rector of the Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis and as a parish priest. He currently is serving as the pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Indianapolis.
The Denver prelates noted that Etienne's previous experiences, especially as “a former vocations director and seminary vice-rector,” have taught him “the importance of searching out and forming the next generation of priests.” In addition, though his pastoral service, he “knows the demands of today’s parish life from experience, and the vital need to support his brother priests in their daily ministry.”
Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein reacted to Fr. Etienne's appointment today, stating that the “clergy and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis are proud of Father Etienne.”
“Bishop-elect Etienne and all of the people of the Diocese of Cheyenne have our prayers. We are grateful for all that he has done for our archdiocese and we’ll miss him.”
In terms of geographical size, the Diocese of Cheyenne is one of the largest in the U.S. with over 97,500 square miles, covering the state of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. The western diocese is home to nearly 53,000 Catholics and 69 priests.
Bishop-elect Etienne will be installed as bishop on Wednesday, December 9, according to the Archdiocese of Denver.