Diocese of Fargo, which serves more than 72,000 Catholics and 132 parishes and missions in the eastern half of North Dakota. The Holy See made the announcement today at noon in Rome, 5 a.m. Fargo time.
Bishop-elect Folda will be the eighth Bishop of Fargo. He succeeds Bishop Samuel Aquila, who was named Archbishop of Denver on May 29, 2012. Bishop David Kagan, Bishop of Bismarck, has served as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Fargo since Archbishop Aquila was installed in Denver on July 18, 2012. He continues as Apostolic Administrator until the episcopal ordination of Bishop-elect Folda, which is expected to take place in the second half of June.
A priest of the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., Bishop-elect Folda currently serves as Rector of St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Neb.
Bishops who previously served the Diocese of Fargo include: Bishop John Shanley, 1889-1909; Bishop James O’Reilly, 1910-1934; Bishop Aloisius J. Muench, 1935-1959; Bishop Leo F. Dworschak, 1960-1970; Bishop Justin A. Driscoll, 1970-1984; Bishop James S. Sullivan, 1985- 2002; and Bishop Samuel J. Aquila, 2002-2012.
Biography of Bishop-Elect John Thomas Folda
John Thomas Folda, 51, was born on Aug. 8, 1961, in Omaha, Neb., the son of Mabel and the late James Folda. He is the youngest of three children. His brother, James, and his wife, Paula, live in Brookfield, Wis. His sister, Mary, and her husband, Karl, live in Adams, Neb. They have four children and one grandchild.
Bishop-elect Folda grew up in Omaha, where he attended St. Thomas More Grade School and Archbishop Ryan High School. After graduating from high school in 1979, he attended the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where he studied architecture and electrical engineering.
In August 1983, Bishop-elect Folda entered seminary formation for the Diocese of Lincoln. He attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and graduated in 1985 with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy. He continued his theological studies at St. Charles Seminary, where he earned a master of divinity degree in 1988 and a master of arts in theology in 1989.
On May 27, 1989, Bishop-elect Folda was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln by Bishop Glennon Patrick Flavin. For two years, he served as parochial vicar at Cathedral of the Risen Christ, and was a teacher of religion at Pius X High School in Lincoln.
In 1991, Bishop-elect Folda was sent to Rome, where he earned a licentiate in sacred theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas. Upon returning to the Diocese of Lincoln in 1993, he was assigned as pastor of St. Paulinus Church in Syracuse and Holy Trinity Church in Avoca. He was also guidance counselor and teacher of religion at Lourdes Central Catholic Schools in Nebraska City. During this time, he also served as assistant to the Vicar General of the Diocese of Lincoln.
In 1995, Bishop-elect Folda was appointed pastor of St. Leo Church in Palmyra and St. Martin Church in Douglas, while continuing to work in the diocesan offices. In 1997, he was appointed diocesan Director of Religious Education, Co-Vicar for Religious, Master of Ceremonies, and Censor Librorum. He was also appointed Delegate of the Bishop to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and continues as vice president of the Board of Directors. Bishop-elect Folda has been a member of the Board of the Nebraska Catholic Conference since 1993. He has also been a member of the Presbyteral Council, College of Consultors, Finance Council, Priests’ Continuing Education Committee, Catholic Social Services Board and the Ethics Committee of St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center.
In 1999, Bishop-elect Folda was appointed rector of St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Neb. He served as president of the National Association of College Seminaries from 2008 to 2010. On Oct. 10, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI named him “Chaplain of His Holiness” with the title of Monsignor.
On April 8, 2013, Pope Francis appointed him Bishop of Fargo.
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- About the Diocese of Lincoln
- About St. Gregory the Great Seminary
- Biography of Bishop-Elect John Thomas Folda (PDF)
- Archbishop Aquila’s statement about Bishop-elect Folda (PDF)
- Bishop Conley’s statement about Bishop-elect Folda (PDF)
- How bishops are appointed (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Effective July 18, 2012, as approved by Pope Benedict XVI, the Most Rev. David Kagan, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bismarck, has been named apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Fargo due to the appointment of the Most Rev. Samuel Aquila as archbishop of the Denver Archdiocese.
In a statement concerning his interim appointment, Bishop Kagan said, “It is a sign of the high regard which our Holy Father has for the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Fargo, and for all that has been accomplished by Archbishop Aquila with the good cooperation of the clergy, religious and laity, that he has made this provision for the diocese in this time of transition and growth.”
During any “sede vacante” (vacant see), the period of time between bishops, one of two scenarios takes place. Either the pope appoints an apostolic administrator, as he did with the appointment of Bishop Kagan, or a “College of Consultors,” a committee made up of diocesan priests, elects a priest as administrator to lead a diocese until a permanent bishop is named.
The apostolic nuncio – the pope’s representative and ambassador in the United States – along with the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops will begin the search for Fargo’s new bishop and present their thoughts directly to the Holy Father, who makes the final determination. The process typically takes between eight months to a year or more.
During this interim time, Bishop Kagan has been entrusted with the authority of the diocesan bishop to teach, sanctify and lead Catholics residing within Eastern North Dakota.
Bishop Kagan was appointed to be the seventh bishop of the Bismarck Diocese on October 19, 2011, and was ordained and installed as its bishop on November 30, 2011. Prior to arriving in Bismarck, he had served in numerous pastoral capacities, including 17 years as Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Rockford, Ill.
The Catholic faith teaches that bishops serve as successors to the 12 apostles who were called and ordained to this ministry by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. They serve as shepherds of the flock, and – like the apostles – have a special call to teach, govern, and sanctify, or make holy through prayer and sacrifice. The bishop is pastor of his diocese and maintains unity with the Holy Father, thus playing the indispensable role of unifying the various churches in the one Universal Church.
Pope Names Bishop Aquila Of Fargo, North Dakota As Archbishop Of Denver, Bishop Malone Of Portland, Maine As Bishop Of Buffalo, Accepts Resignation Of Bishop Kmiec Of Buffalo
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, 61, as archbishop of Denver; Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland, Maine, 66, as bishop of Buffalo, New York; and accepted the resignation of 75-year-old Bishop Edward U. Kmiec from the pastoral governance of the Buffalo Diocese.
The appointments and resignation were publicized in Washington, May 29, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Aquila succeeds Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., who was named archbishop of Philadelphia last July. Samuel Joseph Aquila was born September 24, 1950, in Burbank, California. He studied at St. Thomas Seminary, Denver, where he earned a master’s degree in theology, and at San Anselmo University, Rome, where he earned a licentiate in theology. He was ordained a priest for the Denver Archdiocese in 1976. In the archdiocese he served as director of the Office of Liturgy, secretary for Catholic education, the first director of the St. John Vianney Seminary, and chief executive officer of Our Lady of the New Advent Theological Institute. He was named coadjutor bishop of Fargo in 2001 and bishop of Fargo in 2002.
Richard Joseph Malone was born in Salem, Massachusetts, March 19, 1946, and ordained a priest for the Boston Archdiocese in 1972. He holds a bachelor of theology degree, a master of divinity degree, and a master of theology in biblical studies from St. John Seminary School of Theology, a doctor of theology degree in religion and education from Boston University, and a licentiate in sacred theology from Weston Jesuit School of Theology.
Bishop Malone was named an auxiliary bishop of Boston in 2000, and bishop of Portland in 2004. Prior to his ordination as a bishop, he taught theology at the archdiocesan seminary, had served as director of campus ministry at Harvard University, director of the archdiocesan office of ecumenical and interreligious affairs, director of religious education and secretary for education.
Edward Urban Kmiec was born in Trenton, New Jersey, June 4, 1936. He studied at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, the Gregorian University, Rome, and the North American College. He was ordained a priest in 1961. He was named auxiliary bishop of Trenton in 1982, bishop of Nashville, Tennessee, in 1992, and bishop of Buffalo in 2004.
The Denver Archdiocese has a population of 3,299,911people, with 541,419, or 16 percent, of them Catholic. It includes 25 counties across 40,154 square miles in northern Colorado.
The Buffalo diocese has 1,527,470 persons, with 633,550, or 41 percent, of them Catholic. It includes eight counties across 6,357 square miles in western New York State.