WASHINGTON (July 6, 1998) -- Pope John Paul II has appointed Monsignor Blase Cupich, pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine parish, Omaha, as Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota. Bishop-designate Cupich, 49, succeeds Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap., who was named Archbishop of Denver on February 18, 1997.
Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States, made the announcement.
Bishop-elect Cupich was born in Omaha on March 19, 1949.
He attended the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota where he earned a B.A. in Philosophy in 1971, studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and obtained a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
Bishop-elect Cupich was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha on August 16, 1975.
From 1975 to 1978 he was assistant pastor of St. Margaret, Omaha, director of the archdiocesan Office of Liturgy, and President of the Commission for Youth.
Bishop-elect Cupich served on the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington from 1981 to 1987.
He served as pastor at St. Mary, Bellevue, Nebraska from 1987 to 1989, and was Rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, from 1989 to 1997.
Bishop-elect Cupich was named pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine in 1997.
The Diocese of Rapid City, formerly the Diocese of Lead, was erected August 4, 1902. The see was transferred to Rapid City on August 1, 1930. It comprises 22 counties in the State of South Dakota and has a Catholic population of approximately 38,000 in a total population of some 211,000.