UP Catholic 07 15 2016 E Edition Page 30

30 July 15, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC www.upcatholic.org BY JOHN FEE THE U.P. CATHOLIC St. John Nepomucene Parish in Little Chute, Wis., welcomed a new parochial vicar (associate pastor) 25 years ago, not long after his ordination to the priesthood on July 13, 1991. Now the former priest of the Diocese of Green Bay is bishop of the Diocese of Marquette. I think being a bishop is like being the pastor of a really large parish. A bishop is just that, hes a pastor. Hes a shepherd, said Bishop John Doer- ler. My parish is just very, very large. Slightly larger than the country of Switzerland in territory and comprises about 75,000 Catholics. With a priority to be pastoral- ly-present to the people of the dio- cese, Bishop Doerfler set out to visit all 94 parishes and missions, nine Catholic schools, and campus minis- tries at three public universities in a little more than two years. So far, since his episcopal ordination and instal- lation on Feb. 11, 2014 at St. Peter Cathedral, Bishop Doerfler has visited each school and campus ministry at least annually and visited 80 of the parishes and missions. His plan is to visit the other 14 by this winter. These visits arent just quick trips to celebrate a Mass and shake a few hands. Bishop Doerfler said over the irst couple of months here he prayed about how he could fet to know the people of his diocese. The idea surfaced of foing to a par- ish, or cluster of parishes, for a whole week- end and doing whatever might be on the pas- tors weekend schedule. I have much more contact with a parish or cluster of parishes that way than if I was just simply foing for one event and then coming home. Im there for a weekend. That fives me an op- portunity to mix and mingle with the people of the parishes as well as have a food visit with the pastor and expe- rience in a deeper way the different parishes and missions of the diocese, Bishop Doerfler said. He said he plans to continue to visit all the parishes and missions on a reg- ular basis, but more likely over a six- year period than the current schedule. Annual school and campus ministry visits will continue. A full confirmation schedule will be added next year. When the age of confirmation was raised from sec- ond or third grade to eleventh grade several years ago, it slowed the number of confir- mations as most eleventh graders had already been confirmed. Bishop Doerfler said his extensive travels have given him an opportu- nity to meet the people of Michigans Upper Peninsula. Most of our parishes and missions are small, and there is a great fraternal spirit among these small communities. Its a joy to be able to participate in that. Ive really come to value these small missions and what they bring to the life of the diocese as a whole. Reserve your advertising space today! 1-866-452-5112 upc@new.rr.com Coming Soon! 2016 - 2017 Diocesan Directory From Wisconsin diocesan priest to Michigan bishop, Bishop John Doerfler gets to know his flock JOHN FEE THE U.P. CATHOLIC Bishop John Doerfler greets a parishioner following the Saturday, June 25, 2016 vigil Mass at Holy Name of Mary Proto-Cathedral in Sault Ste. Marie. Father Sebastian Kavumakal MST, parish pastor, concelebrated the Mass. Bishop Doerfler celebrated all the Masses at the church that weekend as part of his parish visit. Most Reverend John F. Doerfler From the parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua and St. Thomas the Apostle Parishes Dear Bishop Doerfler, Thank you for pastoring your flock with such great love. May God bless you in a very special way on your 25th Jubilee of Priestly Ministry!

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