Editor’s note: Bishop-elect John Doerfler will be ordained the 13th bishop of Marquette, Mich., on Feb. 11. On Dec. 19, two days after his appointment by Pope Francis, Bishop-elect Doerfler, 49, agreed to answer a few questions about his new role as shepherd of the Marquette Diocese.continue at The Compass
Q: Can you share with readers how you learned about your appointment as Marquette’s 13th bishop and the series of events that took place leading up until the appointment was announced Dec. 17?
A: On late afternoon of Dec. 9, I was down at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Milwaukee, where I’ve been teaching part-time, and Terri Wickman (executive assistant at the chancery) called me and said the nuncio called for me. So I called the nuncio’s office. … Because they are in the Eastern Time zone, by the time I called their office had just closed. I had a good amount of time to spend in the chapel on Monday night, not knowing exactly what this is about. It would not have been too unusual if it had been a member of the nuncio’s staff who called because there is diocesan business sometimes that we have with the nunciature, but it would be a little bit unusual if the nuncio called. So I was asking myself a little bit Monday night, “Did (Wickman) really mean the nuncio or a member of his staff?” So the next morning on Tuesday, it was about 8:15, I called the nuncio’s office, indicating that I was returning the nuncio’s call. The person who answered the phone said, “Are you sure it was the nuncio who called or a member of his staff?” I just indicated that this was the message I received. She said that she would find out who called for me and they would get back to me. Five minutes later the nuncio called back and at that time informed me that the Holy Father had chosen me to be the next bishop of Marquette. So I had some remote preparation from spending a fair amount of time in the chapel the night before. So I very readily said that I would accept this. I told the Lord, “Whatever you want me to do, I will do.” It happened to be exam week at the seminary, so this was around 8:20 that I was on the phone with the nuncio. At 9 o’clock began my round of oral final exams for the students I was teaching. So it was an interesting day to say the least.