His Holiness, Pope Francis on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 named Rev. Msgr. Stephen J. Berg as the fifth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo. Bishop-elect Berg was formerly the Diocesan Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. He succeeds Bishop Emeritus Fernando Isern who retired in June 2013. The announcement of the appointment was made Wednesday by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States—the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S.
Bishop-elect Berg will be introduced at 10:30 a.m., on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at the Pueblo Pastoral Center at 101 North Greenwood Street. Bishop-elect Berg will be ordained and installed as Bishop of Pueblo on February 27, 2014, by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at a Mass in Pueblo. Archbishop Viganò will represent His Holiness Pope Francis at the ordination.
The Diocese of Pueblo encompasses 48,000 square miles and has a Catholic population of approximately 64,000. The 72-year-old Diocese has 53 parishes, 44 missions and four Catholic schools.
“I am humbled and deeply moved that Pope Francis has appointed me to be the next Bishop of Pueblo,” Bishop-elect Berg said. “I know Colorado to be a beautiful land of beautiful people and I look forward to serving the faithful of Pueblo as their shepherd in Christ. I eagerly anticipate our future together as we grow and build our local church.”
Bishop-elect Berg, 62, is a native of Miles City, Montana. He is the son of Connie and Jeanne Berg and the oldest of 10 children. He attended Catholic schools in Miles City, graduating from Sacred Heart High School in 1969. He earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1973 and a Master of Music from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales in 1975.
Upon graduation, Bishop-elect Berg taught music at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth. Subsequently, he worked 14 years in the retail nursery industry as vice president or general manager for divisions of Sunbelt Nursery, Inc. in Fort Worth, Southern California, Phoenix and Atlanta.
Bishop-elect Berg entered Assumption Seminary in San Antonio in 1993 where he received a Master of Divinity degree from Oblate School of Theology in 1999. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1999 by his maternal uncle Bishop Joseph L. Charron, C.PP.S, S.T.D, now the Bishop Emeritus of Des Moines.
After his ordination, Bishop-elect Berg served as parochial vicar of St. Michael Catholic Church in Bedford, Texas from1999 to 2001. In 2001, he became parochial vicar of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in North Richland Hills, Texas. From 2002 to 2008, he was pastor of four rural parishes: St. Mary in Henrietta, St. Jerome in Bowie, St. William in Montague and St. Joseph in Nocona. In 2008, Bishop Kevin Vann appointed him vicar general of the Diocese of Fort Worth and concurrently he served as pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church. In 2010, he became the Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese under Bishop Vann and also served as administrator of Holy Name of Jesus parish. Upon Bishop Vann’s installation as Bishop of Orange, then-Monsignor Berg was elected diocesan administrator in December 2012 by the College of Consultors for the Diocese.
Fort Worth Bishop-elect Michael F. Olson said: “The Diocese of Fort Worth is very proud and joyful that his Holiness, Pope Francis, has appointed one of our own to be the next Bishop of Pueblo, Colorado. I personally am happy for him and the Diocese of Pueblo. His ministry as pastor, vicar general and administrator of the Diocese of Fort Worth during sede vacante (no bishop) has prepared him for his new assignment. At heart, Bishop-elect Berg is a good priest, a kind man, a true Christian and a wise leader.”
Bishop-elect Berg also stated, “I am thankful to the priests, deacons, religious, staff and the faithful of the Diocese of Pueblo for their care of the Diocese and love of their faith. I extend an invitation to all to join in celebration of my ordination and installation on February 27.”