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Diocese of Winona-Rochester installs Robert Barron as new bishop

Formerly the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Robert Barron “is one of the most-followed Catholics in the world on social media,” according to a biography provided by the diocese.

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The Most Reverend Robert Barron was installed as the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester on Friday at the co-Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Rochester. Barron replaces Bishop John M. Quinn, who served the diocese for 13 years.
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ROCHESTER, Minn. — As Bishop Robert Barron walked out of the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Friday, he was greeted with the sound of tambourines, guitars, clapping and singing.

Over the course of the morning, the local Catholic church hosted the installation Mass for Barron, officially making him the Bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. And if the Mass itself was about tradition, piety, and prayer, the gathering in the courtyard immediately afterward was about joy and celebration.

“It is a big day,” said Jackline Kassiano, who performed a reading in Arabic during the Mass. “I’m so happy to be part of this event.”

The Diocese announced Barron as the next bishop in early June, replacing Bishop John M. Quinn who had served in the role for 13 years. The Diocese of Winona-Rochester oversees the 20 southernmost counties of Minnesota, according to its website.

Formerly the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Barron “is one of the most-followed Catholics in the world on social media,” according to a biography provided by the diocese.

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“It seems to me, the task that has been entrusted to me today by the Holy Father is to facilitate the process by which the people of this diocese become ever more deeply friends of Jesus,” Barron said during the Mass. “I want a diocese that worships God with enthusiasm, devotion and deep love.”

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The Mass drew representatives from across both the faith-based and secular communities, including those from Mayo Clinic, the City of Rochester, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Archdiocese of Chicago. It even featured The Most Reverend Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio (ambassador) to the United States of America.

With eight languages used during the Mass, the celebration had a multicultural appeal. Parts of the Mass were prayed or sung in languages ranging from English, Latin and Spanish, to Tagalog, Hindi, Arabic, Italian and Kiswahili.

Even within the boundaries of the Diocese, the Mass drew people from far and wide to see the historic day.

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An episcopate of bishops process into the church at Saint John the Evangelist during the installation Mass for Bishop Robert Barron on Friday, July 29, 2022.
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Rosalio and Dilma Agustin traveled with their three children from Worthington in southwest Minnesota, and officially greeted the Bishop during the Mass as representatives of the Hispanic community.

"Since God has been living with our family for a really long time, our hearts are so happy that we got the chance to be with the Bishop," said 17-year-old Valery Agustin.

Ronald Guerra was one of the musicians welcoming Barron as he walked out of the Mass. Guerra drove from St. Paul for the installation Mass.

"For us, to have a new bishop is like welcoming our new Peter. He was the first bishop," Guerra said, referring to the biblical apostle. "We came to welcome our new Bishop. It's amazing for someone like Robert Barron to come. It's a blessing, and we just wanted to make ourselves known that we're here."

Related Topics: ROCHESTER
Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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