New diocese administrator appointed

STEUBENVILLE — The current bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was appointed as the Diocese of Steubenville’s new apostolic administrator Friday amid continued talk of a merger between the dioceses of Steubenville and Columbus.

Pope Francis named Bishop Edward M. Lohse to serve as the Steubenville diocese’s apostolic administrator, or temporary overseer of an episcopal see. Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Lohse has served as the Kalamazoo diocese’s fifth bishop since May 23, 2023.

Lohse will begin in his new role immediately while continuing his duties as the Kalamazoo diocese’s bishop, according to Dino Orsatti, director of communications for the Steubenville diocese.

This new appointment marks the conclusion of service for Bishop Paul J. Bradley, who was appointed by the pope to be Steubenville’s apostolic administrator Sept. 28. Retired since May 23, 2023, Bradley previously served as bishop of the Kalamazoo diocese and auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

A release from the Steubenville diocese states that Lohse will “complete the current process of discernment for the Steubenville diocese.”

Bradley said in the release: “As the discernment process continues to move forward in regard to the future of the Diocese of Steubenville, the Holy Father has informed me that my service as apostolic administrator of the diocese has been completed and thanked me for my leadership over these last nine months.

“I am so very grateful to the Holy Father for giving me the privilege of serving as the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Steubenville and for getting to know the wonderful priests, deacons, religious women and men and lay faithful of this very special diocese. I am confident that Bishop Lohse will provide excellent leadership to the diocese throughout the remainder of this process. These nine months have been a great blessing to me, and I promise to always keep the clergy and faithful of the diocese in my daily prayers. Please pray for me as well.”

Lohse said in the release: “I thank Bishop Bradley for his wonderful pastoral outreach to the people of the Diocese of Steubenville, and I look forward to meeting the clergy, religious and faithful of the diocese.”

Individuals commenting on the Steubenville diocese’s Facebook announcement offered sentiments of gratitude toward Bradley and his service to the diocese. At the same time, some expressed concern over what this latest move could mean for the diocese’s future.

The diocese is undergoing a period of discernment regarding a potential merger with the Diocese of Columbus.

March saw Bradley and Columbus Bishop Earl K. Fernandes, along with their diocesan leadership teams, submit a summary of findings on how both dioceses could be affected by a merger. The summary was compiled and submitted to Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican’s diplomatic mission to the United States.

A joint release from Steubenville and Columbus states, “Neither the bishops nor their leadership teams were tasked with making a decision, rather to consider how the aspects of diocesan life of the dioceses could be affected by a potential merger.”

It continues: “No decision on a merger has been made. The final decision will be made by the Holy Father, Pope Francis. This process of discernment is distinct from the process of implementation should a merger occur.”

Orsatti said Friday that a decision has not yet been handed down from the pope, and the Steubenville diocese has not heard any news since the summary was submitted in March.


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