WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Roger P. Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi, and has named as his successor Msgr. Louis F. Kihneman III, who is vicar general of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Bishop Morin, who has headed the Biloxi Diocese since 2009, is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. Bishop-designate Kihneman, 64, is a Louisiana native who was ordained a priest for Corpus Christi in 1977. He has been the diocese’s vicar general since 2010.
The appointment was publicized in Washington Dec. 16 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop-designate Kihneman’s episcopal ordination and installation Mass will be celebrated Feb. 17, his 65th birthday, at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral in Biloxi.
He is a native of the Gulf Coast region, having been born in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1952 and baptized at Our Lady of Wisdom Parish there. He received his first Communion at St. Andrew Parish in New Orleans in 1958 before his family moved to Corpus Christi.
“As a son of a family of the Gulf Coast, I have fond memories of summers and summer camp as a boy in the area and thus I feel as if the Lord has led me full circle in some ways back home,” Bishop-designate Kihneman said in a Dec. 16 statement to Biloxi Catholics. “I look forward to getting to know you and growing with you in the love of Jesus Christ and together sharing that love with all our brother and sisters.”
Ordained a priest of the Corpus Christi Diocese in 1977, his first assignment in was as parochial vicar to San Isidro Labrador Parish in Artega, Mexico. He has since held parish assignments for all but three years of his priesthood, including his current assignment as pastor of St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Corpus Christi.
Bishop-designate Kihneman has served the diocesan offices, including: diocesan director of religious education, director of vocations, director of seminarians, director of ministry to priests, director of St. John Vianney House of Studies and Christian Leadership Vocations Program, associate vicar for clergy, advocate at the diocesan tribunal, and chancellor.
He is also currently a member of Corpus Christi diocesan priest personnel board, presbyteral council, finance council, deposit and loan board, priest pension plan board, and chair of the Perpetual Benefit Endowment Fund of the diocese.
Bishop-designate Kihneman received the Distinguished Pastor Award from the National Catholic Educational Association in 2011 in recognition of his support for Catholic education.
Bishop Morin, a native of Dracut, Massachusetts, went to New Orleans in 1967 to work in the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ new summer program, Witness, returning in 1968 to become director of The Center, a neighborhood social service organization run by the archdiocesan Social Apostolate. He enrolled at Notre Dame Seminary, studying in the evenings and on Saturdays in addition to his full-time position at The Center.
He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans by Archbishop Philip Hannan in 1971, in his home parish of St. Therese in Dracut.
In 1973, he was name associate director –- and, in 1975, director — of the Social Apostolate. In 1978, he was a volunteer member of New Orleans Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial’s transition team dealing with federal programs and then accepted a $1-a-year position as deputy special assistant to the mayor for federal programs and projects. He served the city of New Orleans until 1981, when he was appointed archdiocesan vicar for community affairs.
Bishop Morin directed preparations for St. John Paul’s 1987 visit to New Orleans, and coordinated events surrounding the archdiocese’s bicentennial in 1993.
He was ordained an auxiliary bishop of New Orleans in 2003 and served there until he was appointed to Biloxi in 2009.