A New Bishop for West Texas 12/12/13
CBS 7 News
December 12, 2013
After almost three decades of service, the bishop of The Diocese of San Angelo has resigned.
Today Pope Francis named a new bishop, expected to bring new energy to what is arguably the most important Catholic appointment in West Texas.
New bishop Monsignor Michael Sis comes with a new vision from Austin, and for those not familiar with the role of the bishop, basin leaders explain.
Pope Francis named Monsignor Michael Sis, presently vicar general of the Diocese of Austin, as the replacement for retiring San Angelo Bishop Michael Pfeifer.
"He will be the one who sets the tone for the diocese,” said Monsignor Larry Droll, pastor of St. Ann’s Parish. “The one who appoints priests and deacons to various ministries in the diocese and provides the overall leadership of the church.”
Monsignor Sis accepted the position this morning in San Angelo, he told CBS 7 that he is looking forward to improving his Spanish. He said about 70 percent of Catholics in West Texas are Hispanic.
"Regardless of our language, country of origin, the color of our skin or economic conditions, it is still our church,” Sis told a San Angelo crowd this morning.
He also shared part of his vision for the diocese, derived from Pope Francis’ recent publications.
“His hope is that all of our dioceses will go through some kind of a pastoral conversion with a missionary spirit of going forth to the outskirts of our territory and preaching Jesus Christ,” Sis said. “That’s exactly the spirit which has fueled 28 years of the work of Bishop Pfeifer, together we hope to continue that spirit."
For those who fill the pews, the new bishop will play an important role.
"He’s the one who has been assigned our shepherd and we are his flock, and we trust in the pope’s decision and that God put him here for our greater benefit,” said Anthony Garza, who attends St. Mary’s Central Catholic Church in Odessa.
Sis will be made a bishop and installed on January 27 in San Angelo.
A bishop is appointed for life, but they must retire at age 75, then it's up to the pope whether or not to accept those resignations.