New Marquette Catholic bishop coming from Green Bay

Christmas is a time of great joy for more than 2 billion Christians around the world, but Catholics in the Upper Peninsula have something joyous to celebrate a week early.

As ABC 10 News Now senior reporter Mike Hoey reports, the Diocese of Marquette is welcoming a new bishop.

Father John Doerfler received a phone call on Tuesday of last week. The papal nuncio, the personal representative of Pope Francis in the United States, was calling to tell him that he would be the new Bishop of Marquette.

“I didn’t expect that coming at all,” Fr. Doefler said. “I teach part-time, and I was preparing to give oral exams that day. My first exam was at 9:00, and the nuncio called at 8:20, so it was a big surprise for that day.”

Fr. Doerfler is the vicar general of the Diocese of Green Bay. Catholic bishops are required to choose an episcopal motto. His motto will be the Latin phrase that translates as ‘The Joy of the Gospels’. Pope Francis recently released a blueprint for evangelization under that name.

“I am so impressed by the joy he has,” Fr. Doefler said. “He also has a very warm heart which comes over in his relations with people, and I hope to be able to imitate that example.”

Fr. Doerfler enjoys outdoor activities and has cross-country skied in the Upper Peninsula.
He joked that he’s hoping the faithful can point out some good trails.

“I have been up to the U.P. a number of times, more or less for vacation and come to love the natural beauty of the U.P., and I look forward to getting to know even more the beauty of the people,” he said.

Fr. Doerfler will be installed as the Upper Peninsula’s new bishop in a ceremony at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette on February 11th. The Diocese of Marquette has not had a bishop since Archbishop Alexander Sample left the area in early April for his current post as archbishop of Portland, Oregon.