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Published June 18 2013

Forum editorial: Welcome to bishop of diocese

A warm Fargo welcome to Bishop-elect John Thomas Folda, who today will be ordained as bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo. The 51-year-old Nebraska native succeeds Bishop Samuel Aquila, who was elevated to archbishop of Denver.

Folda will be the eighth bishop of the diocese. He takes the helm of a dynamic Catholic community that is a microcosm of the challenges and opportunities facing the larger church. Folda’s training and experience equip him nicely to be leader of the tens of thousands of Catholics in his new diocese.

It is not likely Folda will stray from the doctrinal mandates – nor should he – that characterized the tenure of Bishop Aquila. Given the positions espoused by three of the past popes, the new bishop will share many of the same goals and aspirations for his congregants. No one, Catholic or otherwise, should expect radical departures.

In a session with local media Monday, Folda said, “I’ll be as public as I need to be and as I can be.” A little respectful advice for the new leader of the diocese:

Get to know the community. Get to know the community’s people, Catholic and non-Catholic. To the degree permitted by the ecclesiastical role, get involved in the broader scope of Fargo and the region. The diocese does not exist in a vacuum but rather as a vital organization in the overall religious life of a community that cherishes faith and worship.

Folda has an opportunity to be a significant religious leader in a more meaningful and influential way than what is narrowly required of him as the diocesan bishop.

Meanwhile, we join the region’s Catholics in celebrating the ordination of a new bishop. It’s an exciting and hopeful time for Catholics. Folda appears to be an excellent fit for the diocese from a management perspective, and from the perspective of spiritual leadership. We wish him all success.

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.