WASHINGTON -- Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of Bishop Leroy T. Matthiesen of Amarillo and named Auxiliary Bishop John W. Yanta of San Antonio as his successor.
The Pope appointed Auxiliary Bishop John H. Ricard of Baltimore to be the Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida. Bishop Ricard succeeds Most Reverend John M. Smith who was named Coadjutor Bishop of Trenton in November, 1995.
Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States, made the announcements.
John H. Ricard was born February 29, 1940 in New Roads, Louisiana. His early schooling was in Baton Rouge where he graduated from St. Francis Xavier High School in 1958. He entered the Josephite Fathers and studied at Epiphany Apostolic College, Newburgh, New York, Mary Immaculate Novitiate in Walden, NY, and St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, DC.
Ordained May 25, 1968 in Baton Rouge, Bishop Ricard earned an MA in Social Work at Tulane University, New Orleans, in 1972.
He was an assistant at St. Peter Claver church, New Orleans, from 1968 to 1972, pastor of Holy Redeemer church, Washington, DC, from 1972 to 1975, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian parish, Washington, from 1975 to 1979, and instructor in the School of Social Work at the Catholic University of America from 1976 to 1978.
He was serving as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, Washington, when he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, May 29, 1984.
Bishop Ricard was elected to a three-year term as President and Chairman of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in November, 1995.
The Diocese of Pensacola Tallahassee, established in 1975, comprises 14,000 square miles in the State of Florida. It has a Catholic population of 61,688 in a total population of 1,236,417.
The new Bishop of Amarillo, Most Reverend John W. Yanta, was born on October 2, 1931, in Runge, Texas. He attended St. John's Preparatory Seminary and Assumption Seminary in San Antonio and was ordained on March 17, 1956.
Following ordination, he served as assistant pastor in several San Antonio parishes. Bishop Yanta was director of the National Council of Catholic Youth for the Texas-Oklahoma region from 1964 to 1972, archdiocesan director of the Council of Catholic Laity from 1972 to 1974, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in San Antonio, 1973-1981, and editor of the archdiocesan newspaper, "Today's Catholic," from 1981 to 1984.
Bishop Yanta was serving as pastor of St. James Church in San Antonio when he was named Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio, October 27, 1994.
Leroy T. Matthiesen was born in Olfen, Texas on June 11, 1921. He studied at Pontifical College Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio and was ordained a priest of the Amarillo diocese on March 10, 1946.
Following ordination, Bishop Matthiesen studied journalism at the Register College of Journalism in Denver. He was named editor of the West Texas Register in 1948.
He served as associate pastor of St. Mary's Church from 1948 to 1955, when he was appointed first pastor of St. Laurence parish. He was appointed diocesan vocation director in 1958.
Bishop Matthiesen received a Master's degree in education at the Catholic University of America in 1961. He served as rector of St. Lucian minor seminary, Amarillo, from 1961 to 1967.
He was serving as pastor of St. Francis Church and Apostolic Administrator of the Amarillo diocese when he was named Bishop of Amarillo, March 25, 1980.
The diocese of Amarillo, erected in 1926, comprises 26 counties in 25,800 square miles of the Texas Panhandle. Its Catholic population is 40,467 out of a total population of 386,574.