New Catholic bishop installed in Marquette

MARQUETTE – The Rev. John Doerfler was ordained as the 13th bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette Tuesday at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette.

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Ore., who preceded Doerfler as the diocese’s 12th bishop, was back in town for the ordination.

“I’ve known Bishop Doerfler for about 20 years,” Sample said. “I consider him a good friend.”

Sample, who said he used to cross-country ski with Doerfler, also noted he is a good administrator and spoke of his “deep, deep faith” who is well grounded in the church teachings.

“Bishop Doerfler first is a man of deep spirituality,” Sample said.

“What a joy it is to be with you today,” the new bishop said in a written statement. “I have a three-fold invitation to you. Be a friend of Jesus, make a friend and introduce your friend to Jesus.”

Later, he noted, “My first order of business in the office on Thursday is I’m meeting with different members of the staff to get to know them better.”

Doerfler plans to make the rounds in the diocese.

“I’m hoping to schedule time to visit other parishes in the diocese to get to meet people,” he said.

His priorities in the diocese, the bishop said, are three-fold: to be a friend of Jesus, to build a “civilization of love” and to introduce friends to Jesus.

Doerfler said people should think of a bishop as the “shepherd” who brings people in the diocese closer to Jesus Christ.

Doerfler was vicar general of the Diocese of Green Bay when Pope Francis appointed him bishop of the Marquette diocese on Dec. 17. A native of Appleton, Wis., he was ordained to the priesthood in 1991.

“It’s a perfect match between the Diocese of Marquette and Bishop Doerfler,” Sample said.

Sample was one of many church dignitaries, including archbishops and bishops, who were part of the ceremony that included the seating of Doerfler in the bishop’s chair, or cathera, which marked the moment he assumed his new role.

The Catholic Diocese of Marquette, composed of the 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula, has 72 parishes and 22 missions as well as nine Catholic schools with 1,238 students.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.