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Pope Francis appoints Bishop Barron to lead Minnesota diocese

Pope Francis appoints Bishop Barron to lead Minnesota diocese

Bishop-elect Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester. ARCHDIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES VIA CNA

By Courtney Mares

Catholic News Agency

June 2, 2022

VATICAN— The Vatican announced Thursday that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Robert Barron to lead the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.

Barron, who runs the popular Catholic media apostolate Word on Fire, has served as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles since 2015.

He will succeed Bishop John Quinn, who submitted his resignation to the pope after reaching the retirement age of 75 in 2020.

One of the most well-known bishops in the United States, Barron has over 500,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel where he teaches about the faith through talks, interviews, and prayer.

At the last U.S. bishops’ meeting in November, Barron was voted to lead the U.S. bishop’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

Barron, 62, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1986. Four years later, he began teaching at the archdiocese’s Mundelein Seminary, where he served as the rector from 2012 to 2015.

He holds a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from the Institut Catholique de Paris and a master’s degree in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America.

While teaching at Mundelein, he created the Catholicism documentary series, which aired on public television in 2011.

In 2015, Pope Francis appointed Barron as an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, where Barron continued his work with the Word on Fire apostolate.

In recent weeks, Word on Fire has faced claims that the Catholic organization mishandled charges of sexual impropriety by a Word on Fire staffer. Several staff members, including Catholic speakers Jackie and Bobby Angel, announced their departure from Word on Fire amid the controversy in May.

The Catholic Diocese of Winona-Rochester filed for bankruptcy in 2018 while facing more than 100 claims of clerical sex abuse. Quinn said in 2018 that a total of 17 priests in the diocese had been accused of abuse.

Quinn served as the bishop of Winona since 2008 and continued to lead the diocese after the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops announced that it would become the Diocese of Winona-Rochester in 2018.

The diocese covers more than 12,000 square miles of southern Minnesota and includes 107 Catholic parishes and over 130,000 Catholics.

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