FARGO, N.D. (CNS/SNR) -- Bishop John T. Folda was ordained and installed as the eighth bishop of the Fargo Diocese during Mass June 19 at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo.
Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis ordained the new bishop, whose episcopal motto is: "The Word became flesh."
Bishop Folda had been rector at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward in the Diocese of Lincoln since 1999. In Fargo, he succeeds Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, who was named to head the Denver Archdiocese in May 2012.
"Although I never expected to become a bishop or to leave this (Nebraska) diocese, I feel great joy at the opportunity God has given me to serve him in a new way," he said in a statement after he was appointed.
He added that he trusted God to "lead me and give me the grace I need to carry out the office of bishop."
Bishop Folda, a native of Omaha, was ordained for the Lincoln Diocese in 1989. He was parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln, followed by two assignments as a pastor at St. Paulinus in Syracuse and Holy Trinity in Avoca, and at St. Leo in Palmyra and St. Martin in Douglas. In 1997, he was named diocesan director of religious education and co-vicar for religious. In 1998, he became spiritual director at St. Gregory before being named rector.
Lincoln Bishop James D. Conley said that the Nebraska diocese rejoiced with the North Dakota diocese on the appointment of the new bishop.
"I have known Msgr. Folda for over 20 years, and I know that he will be a stellar bishop," he said.
He also said the bishop’s "keen intelligence, his personal humility and his dedication to Jesus Christ and his church" has prepared him well "to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful of the Diocese of Fargo."
Archbishop Aquila similarly described his successor as "a man of deep faith, warm leadership, and unwavering fidelity to the teachings of the church. My heart is filled with joy for the church of Fargo."
In an interview on Real Presence Radio the day before his ordination Mass, the bishop-designate said he felt "very much at home already" in the Fargo Diocese and had a "sense of peace" about his new appointment.
He also said he had been given brotherly and fatherly advice from Bishop Conley and retired Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln.
A vespers service was held June 18 at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo, followed by a public reception. More than 60 priests of the Diocese of Lincoln attended the ordination, as well as many women religious and laity from the diocese.
At the conclusion of the ordination Mass, Bishop Folda said he was "privileged to serve as a priest for 24 wonderful years in the Diocese of Lincoln."
"You have been a family to me."
Bishop Folda thanked both Bishop Bruskewitz and Bishop Conley, as well as his family.
He also said "words alone can’t express my thanks to the people of Fargo" for their warm welcome.
"I am looking forward to our journey together," he said. "I’m all yours. I give all I have and all I am in your service."
Bishop Folda chose as his episcopal motto, "verbum caro factum est," which means, "The Word was made flesh." As he recalled John’s gospel in his remarks, he said it should reminds all of the simple truth that, "It’s all about Jesus Christ. He must be at the center of our lives."