The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Michael Gerard Duca, currently bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana, as the new bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Bishop Duca succeeds Bishop Robert W. Muench, a native of New Orleans, who is retiring.
Bishop Duca has been bishop of Shreveport since May 19, 2008. Bishop Muench has been Bishop of Baton Rouge since March 14, 2002.
Bishop Muench celebrated his 75th birthday on Dec. 28, 2017, and pursuant to canon law (the law of the Catholic Church), submitted his resignation to Pope Francis on that date. He has continued to serve as bishop of Baton Rouge pending the pope’s acceptance of his resignation and the naming of his successor.
Bishop-elect Duca is tentatively scheduled to be installed as the sixth bishop of Baton Rouge on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, at 2 p.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge.
A joint press conference will be held today (Tuesday, June 26, 2018) at which Bishop Muench will formally introduce Bishop Duca. It will be held at 10 a.m. in the Westerfield Center of the Bishop Robert E. Tracy Center in Baton Rouge.
Bishop Muench issued the following statement about the appointment of Bishop Duca:
“With gratitude to God and to Pope Francis, and with open hearts and open arms we welcome the appointment of Bishop Michael Duca, current bishop of Shreveport, to be the bishop-elect of Baton Rouge. By nature, person, character, disposition, education and experience, Bishop Duca is eminently qualified for this position as one who radiates the love and joy of Jesus Christ. He brings unique skills, training and expertise in areas of theology, spirituality, canon law, psychology, seminary and vocations ministry, healthcare, ecumenism and administration. We look forward to the celebration of his installation on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, the Feast of St. Barnabas, at 2 p.m. in St. Joseph Cathedral, Baton Rouge. I extend my deepest congratulations to Bishop Duca and assure him of my personal support of him and to his anticipated ministry to the Church in and of Baton Rouge.
“As written in the Book of Ecclesiastes, ‘There is an appointed time for every purpose under the heavens.’ Two days ago at our cathedral, I had the honor to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving to God, and to the people who have been an essential part of 50 years as a priest. My 16 years of service as the fifth bishop of Baton Rouge have been a profound honor and joy. I will forever hold the priests, deacons, vowed religious, seminarians, diocesan and parish administrators and staff, and dedicated lay faithful deep in heart and mind, in spirit and prayer.”