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From parish priest to bishop

LeVoir becomes fourth bishop of Diocese of New Ulm

September 16, 2008
By KEVIN SWEENEY Journal Editor

NEW ULM - The audience at the installation of Bishop John M. LeVoir on Monday was much more quiet but no less enthusiastic than the crowds that usually pack the stands for hockey games at the New Ulm Civic Center.

Over 2,000 friends, faithful and clergy filled the Civic Center floor and stands for the ordination of the former Father LeVoir as Bishop LeVoir, and his installation as the bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm.

LeVoir's immediate predecessor, Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, presided over the ceremony and was principal consecrator at the ceremony.

Article Photos

Joining him, as co-concelebrants were two friends of LeVoir, Bishop Frederick F. Campbell of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, and Bishop Peter F. Christensen of the Diocese of Superior, Wis.

LeVoir explained he and Campbell had served together as associate pastors in St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Minneapolis, under the Rev. Francis Kittock.

"So Father Kittock has had two bishops come from under his care. When Bishop Campbell and I were talking about this, we both said, 'He must be busting his buttons.' I don't think he's got any more buttons left to bust."

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Staff photo by Steve Muscatello

Newly ordained Bishop of New Ulm John LeVoir greets the crowd during his rite of installation ceremony Monday at the New Ulm Civic Center.

For more photos of this event, go to

The two-and-a-half hour ceremony was held in the New Ulm Civic Center's main arena, which provided ample room for the crowd, including more than 100 priests from the New Ulm Diocese and the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese.

Bishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, read the Apostolic Letter from Pope Benedict XVI , announcing the appointment of LeVoir. This led into the Mass that included the rite of ordination, which consecrated LeVoir as a bishop.

Nienstedt, in his homily, remarked on the earlier reading from the book of Jeremiah.

"What priest, called to episcopal service in this day and age, would not protest to the Lord, in the words of Jeremiah, 'Ah, Lord God, I am too young.' Well, come to think of it, bishop, in your case those might not be the exact words, but the idea is the same," said Nienstedt. " 'Ah, Lord God, I'm just a parish priest,' or, 'Ah, Lord God, I'm just a common man,' 'Ah, Lord God, do not ask this of me.'"

But God would give the same response He gave to Jeremiah, said Nienstedt. "Don't tell me that. To whomever I send you, you shall go, whatever I command you, you shall speak.'

"Remember, my dear bishop, that this is not your ministry, any more than it is your church... The church, this ministry, all these wonderful people, they belong to Christ."

In his ordination message, Nienstedt reminded LeVoir that the title of bishop is one of service, not of honor, that carries a charge to preach the gospel, to reprove error with sound teaching, and to seek grace for his people.

Nienstedt anointed the new bishop with sacred chrism, and he presented him with the book of the Gospels, to signify the duty of the bishop to preach the Gospel; and invested him with a ring, to represent his fidelity to the church; the miter, to signify his resolve to pursue holiness; and the crosier, to signify the duty of guiding and governing the church.

Then, the new bishop took his place in the cathedra, the bishop's chair that signifies his place of governance in the Diocese of New Ulm.

LeVoir becomes the fourth bishop of the diocese, but the first to actually be consecrated in New Ulm.

His appointment comes as the New Ulm Diocese completes its 50th anniversary year.



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