.- The Diocese of Crookston received a new bishop this morning with Pope Benedict XVI’s appointment of Monsignor Michael Hoeppner as its next spiritual head. Bishop-elect Hoeppner will replace Bishop Victor Balke who has been the bishop of Crookston since 1976.
Msgr. Hoeppner comes to Crookston from the Diocese of Winona, Minnestoa where he is well regarded for his service to the Church.
Bishop Bernard Harrington of the Diocese of Winona praised Msgr. Hoeppner’s appointment. “I am delighted that Father Hoeppner has been appointed as Bishop of Crookston,” Bishop Harrington said. “He is well-prepared and well-qualified and I know the people and the clergy of the Diocese of Crookston will welcome him with open arms and work with him to build up the Church of Crookston.”
Bishop-Elect Hoeppner was born June 1, 1949, to Joseph and Anna Hoeppner in Winona. He has three siblings: Patricia, Edward and Mary. He attended Cathedral Grade School, Cotter High School, St. Mary’s College and Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, all in Winona.
He undertook his theological studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy, and was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Winona on June 29, 1975, by Pope Paul VI at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He holds a degree in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a degree in Canon Law.
The Diocese of Crookston includes 14 counties in northwestern Minnesota and serves about 36,000 Catholics.