Bishop John T. Folda was ordained and installed as Bishop of Fargo June 19, calling on members of his new diocese to be witnesses to Jesus Christ and promising to give “all that I have.”
“We walk with Christ in a relationship of love, accepting the crosses that must come, but also drawing from him the joy and the hope and the divine life that he came to share with us,” Bishop Folda said at the close of his Mass of ordination as a bishop.
“We must proclaim Christ, in season and out of season, by our words, whether vocal or written or blogged or tweeted or in any other medium available to us – we must share Christ with all our brothers and sisters around us.”
Archbishop John Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul celebrated the June 19 Mass at Fargo’s Cathedral of St. Mary. Twenty-eight archbishops and bishops, 185 priests, and hundreds of Catholic laity and others were in attendance, the Forum News Service reports.
Congregants included Bishop Folda’s mother, Mabel, his two sisters and their families.
“I am truly looking forward to our journey together as we make our ways through the joys and challenges of this new century and new millennium, and strive to draw always closer to Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.
“As I said on the day of my appointment, I am all yours. And I promise to give you all that I have, and all that I am, in your service.”
Bishop Folda, a native of Omaha, Neb., was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln in 1989.
He was a parochial vicar at Lincoln’s Cathedral of the Risen Christ and also served as a pastor at several churches. He was a guidance counselor and religion teacher at Lincoln’s St. Pius X High School. He served as rector of Saint Gregory the Great Minor Seminary in the Diocese of Lincoln for almost 14 years until Pope Francis appointed him bishop in April 2013.
Archbishop Nienstedt advised the new bishop never to allow a busy schedule to interfere with his daily prayer life.
“Without Christ, we are nothing,” the archbishop said in his homily. “Moreover, never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, no matter how compelling the secular world might pressure you through its ridicule, scorn or outright disdain, to make accommodations to that truth.
“You know the one in whom you believe. Be confident that he will guard you in the end.”
The archbishop also advised Bishop Folda to “always be attentive to the needs of the poor, the sick, the marginalized, and the stranger in our midst.”
Bishop Folda in his closing remarks said Catholics must be “a living proclamation of the good news that Jesus is Lord, that he is our savior, that he loves us, and that he continues to dwell among us.”
The Diocese of Fargo has a population of 396,000 people, of whom about 89,400 are Catholics. The diocese has 120 priests, 43 permanent deacons and 126 vowed religious.