WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Francis has appointed Father James P. Powers, 62, a priest of the Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin, and currently its administrator, to be bishop of the diocese.

The appointment was announced Dec. 15 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the U.S.

A native of Baldwin, Wisconsin, Bishop-designate Powers, 62, was born Feb. 6, 1953 in Baldwin, Wisconsin and was ordained a priest of the Superior Diocese May 20, 1990. He has served as administrator of the diocese since December 2014, a month after Bishop Peter F. Christensen was named to head the Diocese of Boise, Idaho.

He holds a bachelor’s in theology and a master’s of divinity from St. John Vianney Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul. He pursued graduate studies in canon law at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada.Bishop-elect James Powers

Assignments after ordination include 1990-1993, associate pastor, St. Joseph Church, Rice Lake, Wisconsin; 1993-1994, parochial administrator of four parishes in Wisconsin: St. John the Baptist Church, Webster; Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church, Scott; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Danbury. From 1994-1998, he was named pastor of St. Bridget Church in River Falls, Wisconsin; 1995, elected to the diocesan priest personnel board, and reelected in 1999; 1998, adjunct vicar general; 1998-2003, pastor of three parishes: St. Pius X, Solon Falls; St. Mary Church, Minong; and St. Anthony of Padua, Gordon, Wisconsin.

From 2003-2014, he was named administrator of St. Pius X, Solon Falls; St. Mary, Minong and St. Anthony of Padua, Gordon, and pastor of St. Joseph Church, Rice Lake, Wisconsin; in 2010, he was appointed vicar general. Since 2014, he has been pastor of St. Joseph Church and three other churches in Wisconsin: Our Lady of Lourdes in Dobie, St. John the Evangelist in Birchwood, and Holy Trinity in Haugen. He has also served as diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Superior since December 2014.

The Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin, has been a vacant see since November 2014, when then-Bishop Peter F. Christensen, was named Bishop of Boise City, Idaho.

The Diocese of Superior covers 15,715 square miles in the state of Wisconsin. It has a total population of 438,107 of which 69,366, or 16 percent, are Catholic.