Duluth's Bishop, Dennis M. Schnurr, originally a priest of the Diocese of Sioux City, IA, became Bishop of Duluth on April 2, 2001 after having served as the General Secretary of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops for a time and having received the honorary title of "Monsignor." Present at his consecration were three cardinals, 8 archbishops, one from Russia, and about 40 bishops, on a cold and blustery day, the kind that doesn't see many tourists at the Head of the Lakes. No doubt the popularity and respect that he earned in Washington at the USCCB drew those visitors in purple and red.
Since his consecration, Bishop Schnurr's name has appeared regularly on rumor lists for appointment to a larger dioceses. This morning, he received it, as coadjutor-Archbishop (an episcopal "internship" with the right of succession) to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, currently headed by Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk since 1982. Archbishop Pilarczyk turns 75 next August 12 and will be required to submit a letter of resignation at that time.
Archbishop Schnurr (it is OK to use that title now) has received particularly high marks in Duluth for the work he has done in personally being involved with the vocations ministry, resulting in a large increase in the numbers of Duluth men in the seminary and in being ordained.
Finally, Rocco, the repository of all that is Catholic and American, got up: A product of the prestige North American College and Gregorian in Rome, named to the Minnesota diocese in 2001, the Iowa-born archbishop-elect first came to wide notice in two national-level assignments during his priesthood: first, his role as executive director for 1993's World Youth Day in Denver, a year after which he was elevated to general secretary of the US bishops' conference, where he served until the Duluth appointment. Prior to that, Schnurr -- who had been chancellor of his home-diocese of Sioux City by his early 30s -- was a local aide on the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington. . . . Long touted for various openings beyond his current see of 65,000, Schnurr was said to have especially run high on the shortlist for last year's appointment to Pittsburgh. On a related "high" note, Duluth's contingent of seminarians -- 23, as of the last reported figures -- is especially impressive given the diocese's relatively small size; by comparison, with seven times the Catholic population, Cincinnati's count shows that the archdiocese currently has 29 men in formation. No news yet from the Duluth or Cincinnati diocesan web pages.
If memory serves me right, this is not Duluth's first gift to Cincinnati: In 1925, Duluth's Bishop John McNicholas O.P., a Dominican priest born in Ireland who had been bishop for seven years, was appointed Archbishop of Cincinnati and served there until his death in 1950. Archbishop McNicholas was the founder of the "Catholic Legion of Decency" that rated movies to advise Catholics. Not "XXX", but "C" for "Condemned" was the rating not wanted by decent producers in those days.
There must be something in the holy water in Sioux City. In 2004, Bishop Daniel DiNardo was sent to Houston-Galveston where he soon became Cardinal Daniel DiNardo!
Duluth has been a fertile contributor to the Church's episcopal farm system also. In addition to Archbishop McNicholas, former Bishop Robert Brom has been Bishop of San Diego since 1990 and Archbishop Roger Schwietz, O.M.I., has been in Anchorage since 2000.
Stay tuned. The Netherlands, Austria and Texas have stories on Google News. But nothing from Ohio or Duluth yet.