Pope names new bishop for Rapid City, auxiliary for Milwaukee

Fr. Donald Hying and Msgr. Robert Gruss
Fr. Donald Hying and Msgr. Robert Gruss

.- Pope Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Robert D. Gruss as the new Bishop of Rapid City in South Dakota on May 26. On the same day, he announced that Father Donald J. Hying would become an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Milkwaukee.

Bishop-elect Gruss, age 55, has been a priest since 1994 and had a previous career as an airline pilot and aviation instructor. He was the vice rector and director of human formation at Rome’s Pontifical North American College from 2007 to 2010, and most recently served as the pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, Iowa.

“It is with deep humility and gratitude that I have accepted the Holy Father’s appointment as the next bishop of the Diocese of Rapid City,” the bishop-elect stated. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve God, the Catholic Church, and the people of the diocese. I am looking forward to getting to know the people here and to minister to them in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Once consecrated as a bishop, Monsignor Gruss will take on the responsibility of leading approximately 25,000 Catholics in an area of 43,000 square miles. He is the successor to
former Rapid City Bishop Blase J. Cupich, who now heads the Diocese of Spokane in Washington.

Bishop Cupich had words of high praise for the Bishop-elect of his former diocese.

“Our Holy Father Benedict XVI has singularly blessed the Diocese of Rapid City with the selection of a man well respected for his deep faith, pastoral experience, and proven leadership abilities,” he stated. “The church of Rapid City will soon come to know how blessed they are to have a shepherd so well suited to lead and love them.”

Milwaukee's Auxiliary Bishop-elect Donald Hying is 47 years old, and has been a priest since 1989. He studied history, philosophy, and theology at Marquette University, earned a Master of Divinity degree at St. Francis de Sales Seminary, and is currently competing a doctoral degree in ministry. He has served as rector of St. Francis de Sales Seminary since 2007.

“This is a proud moment for the Church in southeastern Wisconsin,” said Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. “By choosing Fr. Hying, one of Milwaukee's own as our new auxiliary bishop, the Holy Father has paid a high compliment to all the priests from this diocese. Pope Benedict XVI has gifted us with a true servant-leader.”

The auxiliary-bishop designate speaks fluent Spanish and spent four years of his priesthood in the Dominican Republic. He has written a column on Scripture for the Milwaukee Catholic Herald since 2004, and hosted Relevant Radio's program “New Heart, New Spirit” since 2009.

Archbishop Listecki will consecrate bishop-elect Hying as his auxiliary bishop on July 20, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Afterward, he will assist Archbishop Listecki in leading 657,519 local Catholics.

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