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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Catholics in southeastern Minnesota have a new leader.

It was announced this morning that Pope Francis has appointed Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron as the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Winona-Rochester. Bishop is the successor to Bishop John Quinn, who has held the leadership position for the past 13 years and is now retiring at age 76.

Diocese of Winona-Rochester
Diocese of Winona-Rochester
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According to a news release from the Winona-Rochester Diocese, the 62-year-old Barron will be officially installed as the new Bishop on July 29. He was named to his current position in California seven years ago and is well-known for his Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. The diocese news release says the popular website has more than 3 million Facebook followers and hundreds of thousands of followers on other social media platforms.

“I am overjoyed and humbled to receive this new assignment as the ninth bishop of Winona-Rochester. I look forward immensely to getting to know the good people, priests, and pastoral ministers of the diocese. I will have to brush off my Chicago winter coat, which has remained unused for the past six years in Santa Barbara! My fondest hope is that I might be a good spiritual father to all the Catholics of southern Minnesota."

The news release says Barron was born in Chicago but also spent portions of his childhood in Detroit before enrolling in the Mundelein Seminary in Chicago and continuing his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. He was ordained into the priesthood in 1986 and later earned a Doctorate of Sacred Theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris.

In his new role, Barron will serve as the leader of the Rochester-based diocese, which encompasses 107 parishes, four high schools, and 30 elementary schools, as well as the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary at St. Mary's University Winona. The news release says the diocese is home to more than 130,000 Catholics.

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