Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fargo, announced December 8, 2006 that Pope Benedict XVI has bestowed papal honors upon seven priests of the diocese.
In his announcement emailed to priests early this morning, Bishop Aquila noted that three priests have received the honorary title of Prelate of Honor of His Holiness and four have received the honorary title of Chaplain of His Holiness. All seven priests will now be referred to by the official title of Reverend Monsignor for the remainder of their lives.
Bishop Aquila will formally present the papal honors at an evening prayer service Sunday, Jan. 21, at 5:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Mary, 604 Broadway, Fargo.
There are three grades of papal honors through which the recipients receive the official title of monsignor: Protonotary Apostolic, Prelate of Honor of His Holiness and Chaplain of His Holiness. One way in which the grade of papal honors is expressed is through the liturgical garments the priests receive upon being formally presented with the papal honors. Prior to changes made in 1969, those named Chaplains of His Holiness surrendered the title upon the death and burial of the pontiff who bestowed the honor. Today, all monsignors retain their titles even after the pope’s death.
Bishop Aquila said the papal honors “recognize the exemplary service these men have given to the Diocese of Fargo in their priestly ministry. This is not only a personal honor for these priests,” he continued, “but recognizes the ministry of every priest in service to Jesus Christ and His Church.” The honorary position includes membership within the Papal Household and thus bonds the priest in a special way with Pope Benedict XVI.
Those receiving papal honors as Prelates of Honor of His Holiness include Father Joseph R. Huebsch, 88, Chaplain, St. Gerard’s Nursing Home, Hankinson; Father Robert L. Laliberte, 60, Spiritual Director, Cardinal Muench Seminary, Fargo; and Father Dennis A. Skonseng, 50, Vicar General and Vicar for Clergy, Fargo. Those receiving papal honors as Chaplains of His Holiness include Father Daniel J. Pilon, 56, Pastor, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Enderlin; Father Gregory J. Schlesselmann, 48, Rector, Cardinal Muench Seminary, Fargo; Father Jeffrey L. Wald, 42, Pastor, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Fargo; and Father Joseph P. Goering, 37, former Chancellor, currently studying in Rome.
The last time priests of the diocese received this honor was in December 1999 when eight priests were named Prelates of Honor. Diocese of Fargo