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Vatican names new Superior bishop

By Brady Slater

Duluth News Tribune

After more than a year without a bishop, the Diocese of Superior was made whole again with an announcement Tuesday that Very Rev. James Patrick Powers will be joining the church.

Powers, the Vatican said in an announcement, had held the same seat at St. Joseph Parish in Rice Lake, Wis.

Powers, 62, was appointed by Pope Francis and will be the 11th bishop of the diocese. Plans are underway for the ordination and installation on Feb. 18.

The diocese had been without a bishop since Bishop Peter F. Christensen was assigned to the diocese of Boise, Idaho. Powers had been serving as the diocese administrator in Superior throughout 2015 on a transitional basis.

"Because of this leadership role during the last year the transition from Diocesan Administrator to Bishop of the Diocese of Superior will hopefully make for a smooth transition for bishop-elect Powers and everyone involved," said chancellor Debra Lieberg in a news release from the Catholic Diocese of Superior.

Powers was ordained to the Sacred Order of the Priesthood by Bishop Raphael M. Fliss in 1990, when Fliss was in the midst of his 28-year run as the longest-serving bishop of the Superior Diocese. Fliss died Sept. 21 in a Duluth hospital at 84.