Pope Francis has appointed a priest from Nebraska to the role of the newest bishop of the Diocese of Fargo.
Msgr. John Folda will serve as the eighth bishop of the diocese, which serves more than 130 parishes and 72,000 parishioners in eastern North Dakota. He is one of the first bishops named by Pope Francis.
"It is certainly an honor to be chosen by him for this role," said Bishop-Elect Folda. "I only hope I can follow the beautiful example of service, simplicity, and joyful faith that he has already shown the world."
The 51-year-old is currently serving in the Diocese of Lincoln as rector of Saint Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, where he as served since 1999. Prior to that, he has served in multiple capacities, from parish priest to religion teacher.
"Although I never expected to become a bishop or to leave this diocese, I feel great joy at the opportunity God has given me to serve Him in a new way," Folda said. "I am thrilled to go to Fargo… I also am quite aware of my own limitations, so I'm a little apprehensive about taking on the responsibilities of a bishop."
He added however, "I trust that God will lead me and give me the grace I need to carry out the office of Bishop."
Bishop James. D. Conley of Lincoln said of Folda, "His vast experience, as well as his keen intelligence, his personal humility, and his dedication to Jesus Christ and His Church will prepare Bishop-elect Folda well to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful of the Diocese of Fargo."
Folda will fill the role that has been vacant since Archbishop Samuel Aquila was moved to Denver in June 2012. Since last July 18, the Diocese of Fargo has been overseen by Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck, North Dakota, who was appointed apostolic administrator by Pope Benedict XVI.