Apparently, even though Archbishop John Nienstedt has been Coadjutor Archbishop of St Paul & Minneapolis since last Spring, he was still legally the Bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm. Until now.
Monsignor Douglas L. Grams, the former Vicar General of the Diocese of New Ulm, was elected to serve as the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of New Ulm by the College of Consultors. The appointment was effective Thursday, December 13, 2007. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt had been serving as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, in addition to his duties as Co-Adjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Monsignor Grams will continue in his present assignment as pastor of the Church of St. Mary in New Ulm.
The Consultors elected Grams as the Diocesan Administrator who will assume the day-to-day administration of the diocese until a new bishop is appointed. The current members of the College of Consultors are: Rev. Gerald S. Meidl; Rev. Joseph A. Steinbeisser - Chairman; Rev. James E. Moran; Rev. John G. Berger - Vice-Chairman; Rev. John A. Pearson; Rev. Andrew J. Michels; Rev. John A. Nordick; Rev. Paul H. van de Crommert; and Rev. Paul L. Wolf ..
Monsignor Grams commented that, “I am honored to serve as interim administrator for the Diocese of New Ulm until our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, appoints a new bishop for our diocese. My prayer is that the Lord will guide me in this new journey of leadership and that a bishop will be appointed soon!”
According to the Code of Canon Law, when the bishop of a diocese vacates his office and no simultaneous appointment is made by the Holy See to fill the office, a diocesan administrator is then elected by the College of Consultors to govern the diocese. The diocesan administrator is elected from the active priests of the diocese and is at least thirty-five years of age. Once he accepts the election, he holds the power of a vicar general until the Pope appoints a new bishop. The diocese is now considered a vacant See, i.e., without a bishop, until a new appointment is made by Pope Benedict XVI.
Monsignor Grams was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1987 at the Church of the Holy Rosary, North Mankato, by Bishop Raymond A. Lucker. He has served parishes in the communities of Sleepy Eye, New Ulm, Searles, Tracy, and Walnut Grove. Positions he has held in the diocese include: Advocate, Defender of the Bond, and Associate Judge for the diocesan Marriage Tribunal; Chancellor; Vicar General; Director of Priest Personnel; Episcopal Vicar for Regions 1 and 6; and the Bishop’s Delegate in Matters Pertaining to Sexual Misconduct. Monsignor Grams was named Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, on September 14, 2005.