First Bishop named by Pope Benedict ordained head of Sioux City


On Friday, at Sioux City, Iowa’s Church of the Nativity, Denver’s Monsignor Walker Nickless was ordained as the first bishop to be appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, filling a two year void, in Sioux City and becoming the Diocese’s 7th Bishop.

Bishop Nickless, who comes to Iowa from the Archdiocese of Denver, told the crowd--with tears in his eyes--that "I hope you will forgive me if I do not find all the right words to tell you what is in my heart. I have never been received more warmly, and your generous gift means so much to me. . . . For me, serving the people of this diocese is a gift, a privilege, and I pledge my life to that."

According to the Des Moines Register, Monsignor Tom Fryar, the Archdiocese of Denver’s vicar for clergy called Nickless "the cream of the crop…He is a learned man with excellent skills."

58-year old Bishop Nickless held Msgr. Fryar’s position for 13 years.

On Friday however, he told his new flock in Sioux City that “the mission has begun.”

The Sioux City Diocese is home to approximately 100,000 Catholics

Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus presided over the ordination, but a throng of other priests and bishops were on hand for the celebration, including Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput.

During the Mass, Archbishop Hanus said that  "the priest who will be ordained during this ceremony to serve as bishop of Sioux City did not choose himself…Like most of us who have received a similar call, there was plenty of hesitation and doubt and fear.”

But, he said, “One says yes only out of love of Christ and his church.”

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