By: Emily Lahr
Many students witnessed the ordination of a new bishop in the Diocese of Steubenville on September 10, in the Finnegan Fieldhouse on the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville.
“To the Diocese of Steubenville, I am delighted to be your bishop; I am yours,” said the newly ordained bishop, the Most Rev. Jeffrey Marc Monforton.
Around 400 students joined hundreds of visitors; 110 priests; around 25 bishops – two of whom were from the Byzantine Rite – and two cardinals as His Excellency the Most Rev. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of the Diocese of Cincinnati laid his hands on Monforton.
Schnurr ordained Monforton because the Diocese of Steubenville is subordinate to the Diocese of Cincinnati in the Church’s hierarchy.
Parishioners from the Diocese of Detroit filled two buses to witness the ordination. Monforton’s family was present, including his cousin who also serves as a bishop.
Following the Gospel, Monsignor Kurt Kemo, the diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Steubenville, presented Monforton to Schnurr. The Most Rev. Carlo Maria Vigano, the representative of Pope Benedict XVI in the United States, read the letter from the Holy Father calling Monforton to this office. The Apostolic Letter was inspected by the College of Consultors and then shown to the assembly.
The Most Rev. John Nienstedt, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minn. was asked by Monforton to give the homily. Nienstedt was the rector of Monforton’s seminary and Monforton later served Nienstedt as his associate pastor at the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Mich. immediately after his ordination in 1994.
Now, more than 18 years later, they both serve as bishops.
“One is never a bishop alone…but always with the college of bishops,” said Neinstedt during the homily.
His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Detroit, was also present for Monforton’s ordination. Maida ordained Monforton as a priest and said he was blessed to witness his Episcopal ordination. From 1998-2005, Monforton served as the personal secretary to Maida.
On July 3, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Monforton as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Steubenville.
The next step for Monforton is to go to the Vatican for several days of training. After his return, one of his goals will be to visit every parish in the diocese within the next few months.
“I am here for you as we build up the Steubenville Diocese,” said Monforton.