Pope Accepts Bishop Balke's Resignation As Bishop of Crookston; Names Msgr. Michael Hoeppner From Winona As Successor
WASHINGTON (September 28, 2007) – Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop Victor Balke from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, and named Msgr. Michael J. Hoeppner, vicar general of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota, to succeed him.
Bishop Balke had submitted his resignation as required upon reaching 75.
The announcement was made in Washington, September 28, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio.
Michael J. Hoeppner was born June 1, 1949, in Winona. He studied at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, and at North American College, Rome, and earned a licentiate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University. He subsequently obtained a licentiate degree in canon law from St. Paul University, Ottawa, Canada, and a master of arts degree in education from Winona State University.
Bishop-elect Hoeppner was ordained to the priesthood in 1975 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome by Pope Paul VI. His early assignments included assistant pastor at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Mankato, Minnesota, teacher at Good Counsel Academy and chaplain to the School Sisters of Notre Dame, in Mankato; diocesan director of vocations; principal of Pacelli High School, Austin, Minnesota; parish administrator of Our lady Queen of Peace and chaplain at the Sacred Heart Hospice Center in Lyle, Minnesota; and pastor at St. Vincent De Paul Parish, Concord, Minnesota, and St. Francis De Sales Parish, Claremont, Minnesota; and judicial vicar of the Crookston Diocese.
He served as pastor of St. Paul Parish in Minnesota City, Minnesota, 1988-1992; pastor of St. Casimir Parish, Winona, 1992-1997; vicar general, 1987-2007, as well as pastor of St. Rose of Lima parish, Lewiston, Minnesota; and St. Anthony Parish, Altura, Minnesota;
He was diocesan administrator of the Winona Diocese from December 1997-1999, and moderator of the curia, since 1999.
The Crookston Diocese includes 250,941 persons, including 35,780 Catholics.