Habemus Episcopum!

I have updated my sidebar to reflect today’s appointment of our new Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington — John Stowe, OFM Conv, the rector of the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio. He becomes the third bishop of this diocese that was established by St. John Paul II in 1988.

Here are links to the announcement on the Vatican website, the USCCB site, and the press release from the diocese.

Bishop-Elect Stowe also currently serves as Vicar Provincial of the Conventual Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Consolation.

Fr. Jim Kent, the Minister Provincial, lauded the appointment:

It is with great joy the Conventual Franciscans received the news that Pope Francis has appointed our brother, Bishop-elect John Stowe, OFM Conv., to shepherd the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. He is a man of deep faith and integrity, with a sharp and inquisitive intellect, all rooted in a genuine pastoral heart.

It’s been nearly 14 months since Pope Francis transferred our well esteemed second bishop, Ronald Gainer, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. That announcement was made January 24, 2014, and his installation took place on March 19, 2014.

What a cause for celebration that come this St Joseph’s Day, we know our new bishop! His ordination/installation Mass is scheduled for Tuesday, May 5.

Bishop Gainer welcomed the news of his successor, noting that the “appointment of a Conventual Franciscan Friar is especially significant as the Catholic Church observes the Year for Consecrated Life.”

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville said that “Bishop-elect Stowe brings a strong spiritual presence, evidenced in his leadership at the Franciscan Shrine in Ohio, and a wealth of pastoral experience, including his service to the Latino community in El Paso, Texas.”

After all of the prayers and sacrifices offered for this very special intention, thanks be to God and to St Joseph for taking care of our particular Church.

Thanks to Pope Francis and to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Papal Nuncio, for all of his diligent work.

Finally, gratitude to Fr. Robert Nieberding who served as our diocesan administrator during the sede vacante period.

I hope this calls for a Te Deum!