Pope Francis appoints Duluth priest as next Bishop of Rapid City

Vatican City, May 12, 2020 / 09:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Peter Muhich to be the next Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota.

Fr. Muhich, 58, most recently served as the rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth, Minnesota. During the coronavirus pandemic, Fr. Muhich made efforts to provide blessed palms and holy water for people’s homes, and livestreamed Masses from the cathedral.

“It is an honor for Father Muhich and for our diocese that Pope Francis has named him to become the next bishop of Rapid City,” Duluth diocese administrator Fr. James B. Bissonette said May 12.

“I know him to be a very good person, an exemplary priest, and a fine friend. He has many gifts that will help him as a bishop. He is kind and considerate, with a keen mind, leadership qualities, and a strong, steady faith. Above all, he has shown himself to be a caring pastor who leads by example, concerned for his people and the mission of the Church,” Bissonette said.

Born on May 13, 1961 as the second of seven children, Muhich was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Duluth at the age of 28. He studied history at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul and theology at the American College of Louvain in Belgium, where he earned a licentiate.

A native of Minnesota, Muhich served as the pastor of Blessed Sacrament, St. Leo and Immaculate Conception in Hibbing for more than 10 years before becoming the parish priest for St. Mary Star of the Sea and at Our Lady of Mercy in Duluth in 2010 and later interim administrator at St. Francis in Carlton and Sts. Mary and Joseph in Sawyer.

Muhich was a part of the Clergy Personnel Board from 2002 to 2007 and then served as the diocesan finance officer from 2009 to 2011. He also served as a spiritual director for the St. Raphael Guild of the Catholic Medical Association and as a member of the Presbyteral Council.

Fr. Bissonette, who has known Fr. Muhich for more than 30 years, said that he has no doubt that Muhich will be “a shepherd … after the example of the Good Shepherd.”

“I am happy for him and for the people of the Diocese of Rapid City,” he said. “My prayers and the prayers of all the faithful of the Duluth Diocese go with him as he takes up this new responsibility.”

The Diocese of Rapid City has been a vacant see since July 2019. Fr. Michel Mulloy has served as diocesan administrator for Rapid City since former Rapid City Bishop Robert D. Gruss was installed as bishop of Saginaw, Michigan, in 2019.

Bishop Gruss led the Diocese of Rapid City for eight years prior to his appointment in Saginaw.

The Diocese of Rapid City covers 43,000 square miles and has a total population of 227,211 people, of which a little more than 10% are Catholic.

Details of Fr. Muhich’s installation as bishop will be announced at a later date.

“May Mary, our Mother, watch over him as he journeys from our Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City and throughout the days ahead,” Bissonette said.

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