Pope Francis names Green Bay vicar general Fr. Daniel Felton as next bishop of Duluth

Bishop-elect Daniel J. Felton of Duluth, Minnesota. Bishop-elect Daniel J. Felton of Duluth, Minnesota./ Courtesy photo

The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis has appointed the vicar general of the Diocese of Green Bay, Fr. Daniel J. Felton, as the next bishop of Duluth, Minnesota.

Felton, 66, has been both vicar general and moderator of the curia for Green Bay diocese since 2014.

The Diocese of Duluth, which serves more than 44,000 Catholics in northeastern Minnesota, has been without a bishop since the sudden death of Bishop Paul Sirba on Dec. 1, 2019.

In June 2020, Pope Francis named Rapid City priest Fr. Michel J. Mulloy to succeed Sirba, but Mulloy resigned a month before his consecration after an accusation surfaced that he had abused a minor in the 1980s.

The Diocese of Rapid City said in September 2020 that it had conducted a preliminary investigation into the allegation against Mulloy and a review board had agreed it merited a full canonical investigation.

The diocese ordered Mulloy to refrain from engaging in ministry.

Felton’s episcopal consecration is scheduled for May 20.

Fr. James Bissonette, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Duluth, said April 7: “We are grateful to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for sending us our next bishop in this joyful Easter season.”

“We look forward to getting to know Bishop-elect Felton and beginning this new chapter in our walk of faith together under his leadership as our next shepherd.”

In addition to his role as vicar general of Green Bay diocese, Bishop-elect Felton was appointed priest moderator of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in the city of Green Bay in August last year.

Felton was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1955, and is the oldest of five children. He grew up in Wisconsin.

The bishop-elect was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Green Bay in 1981. In 1990, he received a licentiate in theology and a master’s degree in social communications from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Felton is a member of the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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