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Pope Names Priest From Oklahoma Diocese As Auxiliary Bishop for Seattle

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Pope Names Priest From Oklahoma Diocese As Auxiliary Bishop for Seattle

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Daniel H. Mueggenborg, a pastor in the Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle. Bishop-designate Mueggenborg, who was ordained for the Tulsa Diocese in 1989, is currently pastor of Christ the King Parish in Tulsa. The appointment was announced April 6 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. “We congratulate Msgr.
Mueggenborg on his appointment and knowing we will miss him, we wish him a
fruitful ministry in the Archdiocese of Seattle,” Tulsa Bishop David A.
Konderla said in a statement. He is the second priest from the
Diocese of Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma to be appointed a bishop. In 2016,
Oklahoma native Msgr. Peter B. Wells was named an archbishop and appointed
apostolic nuncio to South Africa. Bishop Konderla said the
appointments “are a great statement of confidence” from Pope Francis
in the Catholic Church in eastern Oklahoma. “The appointment of Msgr.
Mueggenborg will only strengthen our communion with the universal church,”
he added.mThe episcopal ordination Mass for the new auxiliary bishop will be celebrated May 31 at St. James Cathedral in Seattle. “It is with deep joy that I share this good news,” Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said in a statement. “His warmth and affability, coupled with his pastoral experience and
competence, will be great gifts to the Archdiocese of Seattle.” Archbishop Sartain has known Bishop-designate Mueggenborg for 12 years and praised him as “a wonderful addition to the pastoral leadership of the Archdiocese” in a separate letter to archdiocesan staff. “To say that I am delighted is
an understatement,” he added. “I am humbled by Pope Francis’
appointment to serve as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Seattle,”
Bishop-designate Mueggenborg said. “These recent days have been filled with
prayer both in gratitude for the Holy Father’s decision and in petition for the
strength and grace to fulfill the duties of this ministry.” He will join Seattle’s other auxiliary, Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo, in ministering to Catholics with Archbishop Sartain. Out of a total population of over 5.5 million people, 583,000 are Catholic. Bishop-designate Mueggenborg was
born in Okarche, Oklahoma, April 15, 1962, the same hometown as Father Stanley
Rother, who worked in Guatemala and was brutally murdered there in 1981 and who
will be beatified Sept. 23 in Oklahoma. The newly named bishop attended
Oklahoma State University, where in 1984 he earned a bachelor of science degree
in geology. From 1985 to 1989, he pursued seminary studies first at St. Meinrad
School of Theology in Indiana and then at the Pontifical North American College
in Rome. In 1989, he received a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from
Pontifical Gregorian University and a licentiate in sacred theology in biblical
theology at the Gregorian in 1990. After his ordination as Tulsa
diocesan priest, his assignments included associate pastor at parishes in Tulsa
and Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He was a teacher and chaplain at Bishop Kelley High
School in Tulsa. He had assignments as a parish administrator and a pastor,
then returned to the Pontifical North American College as director of
admissions, vice rector for administration, and vice rector for seminary life. Bishop-designate Mueggenborg also has been chaplain of the University of Tulsa Newman Center; adjunct professor at St. Gregory’s College University/Pastoral Studies Institutes; adjunct professor at the Gregorian University; director of clergy education; director of the diocesan synod; director of pastoral renewal; and adjunct professor in the religion department at the University of Tulsa. He also has served on multiple boards in the diocese. In a lengthy posting on the website of his Tulsa parish, Bishop-designate Mueggenborg describes his
upbringing, his education, his love of the outdoors and natural sciences, opportunities he had “to witness the Catholic faith” and his journey to
the priesthood. A major factor in his decision to become a priest was serving Mass celebrated by Father Rother. “It was during my freshman
year of college that the most significant turning point occurred in the
vocational discernment process,” he recalled. ” Over the course of my
later high school years, I had begun to reject and resist the idea of being a
priest. That rejection was in full force during my freshman year at OSU as I
intentionally closed myself to the possibility of a priestly vocation.” In the spring of 1981, he said, he was asked to serve Mass for an aunt and uncle’s anniversary celebration in Okarche. “I reluctantly agreed to do
so and it turned out to be one of the most pivotal decisions of my life. The
priest who celebrated the Mass was Father Stanley Rother,” he said.
“I knew nothing of him, not even his name, prior to that Mass and yet was
captivated by the deep spiritual presence that surrounded him. There was a
spirit of profound peace and love and filled the room when he entered. I
noticed that presence and it made an impact on me.” Father Rother “possessed the qualities of character that I desired most yet had not found in my secular
pursuits of college life,” Bishop-designate Mueggenborg said. “As a
result of that Mass, I began allowing myself to once again consider the
possibility of becoming a priest. That desire continued to grow through the
remainder of my college years.” A few months later Father Rother
was martyred in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City’s mission in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. “The witness of his radical commitment to Jesus Christ and his love for the people left a lifelong impression on me,” Bishop-designate Mueggenborg wrote. “I will be forever grateful to him for that impact. To honor the influence he had on my journey to priesthood, I used his chalice to celebrate my first Mass as a priest on July 16, 1989.”


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