WASHINGTON (November 20, 2007)—Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Michael W. Warfel of Juneau, Alaska, as Bishop of Great Falls-Billings, Montana.
The announcement was made November 20, in Washington, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Michael Warfel was born September 16, 1948, in Elkhart, Indiana. He attended elementary and secondary schools in Elkhart and attended Indiana University for one year.
In 1972, following military service in Vietnam and Korea, he entered the Athenaeum of Ohio, in Cincinnati, where he studied philosophy and theology. He earned a master of divinity degree from Mt. St. Mary Seminary of the West in Cincinnati in 1980, and a master's degree in Sacred Scripture at St. Michael's College, Winooski, Vermont in 1990.
Bishop Warfel was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska, on April 26, 1980.
He was parochial vicar of St. Benedict Parish, Anchorage, 1980-1985, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Wasilla, Alaska, 1985-1989; and pastor of Saint Mary Parish, Kodiak, Alaska, 1989-1995. He was named pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Anchorage, in 1995.
As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops he has chaired the Committee on Home Missions, and served on the USCCB Administrative Committee, the Committee on the Diaconate and the Committee on International Policy. He also has served as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Nomination of Conference Officers.
The Great Falls-Billings Diocese comprises the eastern part of the state of Montana. It includes 391,360 people, including 51,238 Catholics, or 13 percent of the population of that area.