SUPERIOR – More than 1,000 people from throughout northern Wisconsin celebrated the ordination and installation of Bishop James P. Powers, as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Superior, Feb. 18. They were joined by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, 12 bishops, and more than 60 priests and 30 deacons.

Bishop James P. Powers, newly installed as the head of the Diocese of Superior, blesses the congregation following his ordination Mass and installation at Christ the King Cathedral in Superior, Feb. 18. (CNS photo/Sam Lucero, The Compass)Bishop Powers, 63, the first native son of the diocese to be bishop, was appointed Dec. 15, 2015. In addition to being pastor of four parishes, he served as diocesan administrator for nearly a year after his predecessor, Bishop Peter F. Christiansen, was installed as bishop of the Diocese of Boise, Idaho, Dec. 17, 2014.  

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee ordained Bishop Powers, who grew up on a farm in Hammond in the Superior Diocese, and who sold insurance before being ordained to the priesthood in 1990.

“You have been given a leader with a pastor’s heart to shepherd you in the days ahead,” the archbishop told the congregation in his homily.

Speaking directly to Bishop Powers, Archbishop Listecki reminded him of how to approach his episcopacy.

“Jim, be a ‘holy bishop.’ Lead by example. Reconciliation and sacrificial love are transformative. I know that you share in every bishop’s sense of inadequacy,” the archbishop said. “We are limited and weak creatures, but be not afraid to follow the Lord, take up his cross, and know that he is with you always until the end of time.”

Archbishop Listecki advised the new bishop how to make difficult decisions.

“For the next few months you will enjoy a honeymoon period with your new bride, the Diocese of Superior. But eventually you will have to make decisions which may not always be welcomed,” he said. “Remember to make sure that your decisions are made out of love for the faithful entrusted to you knowing that in serving your people you serve the Lord Jesus who called you to feed his sheep.”         

Near the conclusion of Mass, students from St. Francis Solanus School, Reserve, drummed, danced and signed an honor song on behalf of the native Ojibwe tribe to thank God for Bishop Powers and ask that he be granted many powers – kindness, wisdom, truth, encouragement and more. After the prayer, a tribal elder greeted the new bishop.

During his first address to the congregation, Bishop Powers thanked them for the “outpouring of support” and spoke of the need “to hear and take seriously Pope Francis’ call” in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. To the parishioners at St. Joseph, Rice Lake, who welcomed him as an associate pastor following his priesthood ordination in 1997, and 13 years ago as their pastor, he said, “What a blessing you have been to me, and I hope and pray that I’ve been somewhat of a blessing to you as well.”

He concluded his remarks with the same words he used to begin his year as diocesan administrator: “Light a candle.”

“Light a candle for me,” he added. “Light a candle for the diocese. For the church and the world, and let us pray that we truly to do let that light, our Lord, guide and direct each and every one of us.”