Saturday, January 12, 2002

Bishop Muench leaves in March

By Stephenie Steitzer
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — Bishop Robert Muench, recently selected by the Catholic Church as the new Bishop of Baton Rouge, will be installed in that position on March 14, the Diocese of Covington announced Friday.

        Bishop Muench, 59, will preside at a liturgy at 10:30 a.m. on March 2 at the newly restored and rededicated Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington. The liturgy and reception following at Covington Catholic High School, 1600 Dixie Highway, are open to all in the diocese.

        Diocesan spokesman Tim Fitzgerald said the liturgy will be the last diocesan-wide celebration. He said Bishop Muench will continue his usual round of events until he leaves.

        The Covington diocese's College of Consultors must meet within eight days of the vacancy to select a diocesan administrator until a new Bishop of Covington is named. Any priest over the age of 35 is considered a candidate.

        The appointment of the new bishop to lead the 85,000 Catholics in the diocese may take several months after the administrator is named. Covington's previous Bishop William Hughes retired on July 4, 1995, with Bishop Muench's installation taking place in March 1996.

        Bishop Muench, a Louisville native, was appointed to the 218,000-member Dio cese of Baton Rouge, which will bring him back to an area where he has extensive experience and family ties.

        Diocese of Baton Rouge administrator Father John Carville was not available for comment Friday.

        A statement by Father Carville on the diocese's Web page said Bishop Muench is well known to many of his clergy who stud ied with him in the seminary and worked with him when he served as a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and later as one of its auxiliary bishops.

        “We welcome him back home to Louisiana and look forward to having him as our spiritual leader,” Father Carville said.


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