After serving seven years with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Kevin W. Vann was named bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, Calif., by Pope Benedict XVI.
The appointment was made Friday in Washington, D.C., by the Holy See’s apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, according to a Fort Worth diocese news release.
In a statement, Vann, 61, said he was humbled by the appointment. Quoting Psalm 116, Bishop Vann said he could not repay the “Lord for his goodness” to him.
Friar Tim Thompson, a pastor at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Denton, said he was surprised to learn of Vann’s appointment.
“He was loved by his people and respected,” Thompson said. “It will be hard to lose him. We wish him well and hope everything goes well with him in Orange.”
Deacon Emilio “Popo” Gonzalez, also with Immaculate Conception Church, said he was still in shock since learning of the unexpected transfer.
“He was a great bishop, very good and very personable,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said the Latino community considered him “one of us,” because he was approachable and he was fluent in Spanish.
Born in Springfield, Ill., Bishop Kevin W. Vann was ordained and installed as the third bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth in 2005 upon the unexpected death of Bishop Joseph Delaney.
Under his tenure, the Fort Worth diocese reached many milestones, including the construction and dedication of one of the largest Vietnamese churches in the United States — the Arlington Vietnamese Martyrs Church — and the establishment of a holy cross Catholic school in Frisco last month.
Also under his leadership, the Fort Worth Diocese grew from about 400,000 Catholics in 2005 to an estimated 710,000 Catholics today, officials said.
Blogger Rocco Palmo wrote that Vann was involved in many of the church’s efforts, including mediating the bench’s often delicate relationships with the nation’s Catholic hospitals to filing suit against the federal government over the contraceptive mandate imposed under the new health care reform.
Officials with the Fort Worth diocese said Vann will continue as apostolic administrator until he is installed Dec. 10 as bishop of the Diocese of Orange, where he will serve nearly 3 million people, of whom 41 percent are Catholic, according to a news release.
KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.