THE CATHOLIC Diocese of Steubenville will soon have a new bishop. Monsignor Jeffrey Marc Monforton fills the void created when his predecessor, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, was appointed Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet in Illinois.
The 49-year-old Monforton will be coming to Eastern Ohio from Rochester, Mich. where he serves as pastor of the St. Andrew Catholic parish in Rochester. He was ordained a priest for the Detroit Archdiocese in 1994 and has served in various capacities for the archdiocese.
We wish the new bishop the best in his new challenge while commending Monsignor Kurt Kemo, who has been serving as administrator of the diocese since Bishop Conlon left for his new assignment in July 2011.
Monforton will be overseeing an expansive diocese, encompassing 13 counties and serving 38,000 Catholics. Such a geographical makeup is taxing enough, let alone such a large flock.
Coming from "the state up north," Monforton will be dealing with a major learning curve, one made more difficult by time constraints. He will be ordained and installed as the diocese's fifth bishop during a Mass set for 2 p.m. Sept. 10 on the campus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Monforton does plan on hitting the ground running.
"My first priority as bishop of Steubenville will be the salvation of souls. I also want to make sure our parishes are strong. And I want to look at our media. I want to broaden our approach," he said.
We are in line with such plans.
Monforton also touched upon an area which will likely prove appealing to many in his new diocese -- that being to promote Catholic education.
"One of my hallmarks has always been education. I look at how we can work with younger children and how do we bolster older children in their faith," Monforton noted.
Catholic education in Eastern Ohio has been on the wane in recent years. It is an area in which the new bishop has an opportunity to pump much-needed life.
We congratulate Monforton on his assignment and urge his new congregation to make his transition a seamless one.