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Cali Owings, Published June 16 2013

Fargo diocese to welcome new bishop Wednesday

FARGO – The Catholic diocese here will welcome its new bishop with a special Mass on Wednesday at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

In April, Pope Francis appointed Monsignor John Thomas Folda, of Omaha, Neb., to be the diocese’s next bishop. The Diocese of Fargo oversees more than 72,000 Catholics and 132 parishes and missions throughout eastern North Dakota.

More than 250 clergy and seminarians will attend Folda’s ordination mass in addition to representatives from parishes and Catholic groups.

Folda, 51, has been a priest since 1989. He holds a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Arts degree in theology from St. Charles Seminary. Prior to taking on his role as bishop, Folda was the rector of the St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Neb.

He succeeds former Bishop Samuel Aquila, who took over as the archbishop of Denver last July.

“It’s a rare and joyful time,” said Tanya Watterud, communications director for the diocese. It’s not often that a diocese gets a new bishop. The previous bishop was installed in 2002.

“I think people will join in any way that they can,” Watterud said.

The diocese is providing several opportunities for area Catholics to interact with their new bishop.

Folda will be officially ordained at the public Mass at 2 p.m. Wednesday by the archbishop of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Diocese. Before then, the diocese will also host an event Tuesday night to allow members of the church to pray with their new bishop as he prepares to be ordained. A public reception will be held afterward.

Though the Mass is open to the public, tickets are no longer available.

Members of the public can still get close to the action by viewing a broadcast of the Mass together across the street in the Celebration Center of First Lutheran Church. Communion will be provided there as well. Attendees can greet the Rev. Folda in a receiving line after the ceremony, on the front lawn of his residence at 608 Broadway.

The ordination Mass will also be available on several broadcast, radio and online channels. For a listing, visit www.fargodiocese.org/ordination.

If you go

What: Mass of Episcopal Ordination and Installation

When: 2 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Seats available for broadcast of Mass at First Lutheran Church, 619 Broadway, Fargo

Info: For more information: visit www.fargodiocese.org/ordination

Readers can reach Forum reporter Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599