Pope Francis named Msgr. Stephen Berg, 62, the diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Fort Worth, as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo. He succeeds Bishop Fernando Isern who retired in June 2013.
“I am humbled and deeply moved that Pope Francis has appointed me to be the next Bishop of Pueblo,” Bishop-designate Berg said. “I know Colorado to be a beautiful land of beautiful people and I look forward to serving the faithful of Pueblo as their shepherd in Christ. I eagerly anticipate our future together as we grow and build our local church.”
Bishop-designate Berg will be introduced at 10:30 a.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 at the Pueblo Pastoral Center at 101 North Greenwood Street. He will be ordained and installed as Bishop of Pueblo on Feb. 27, 2014, by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at a Mass in Pueblo. Archbishop Viganò will represent His Holiness Pope Francis at the ordination.
“I am thankful to the priests, deacons, religious, staff and the faithful of the Diocese of Pueblo for their care of the Diocese and love of their faith” the bishop-designate said. “I extend an invitation to all to join in celebration of my ordination and installation on February 27.”
“My heart is filled with joy that the Holy Father has appointed Bishop-designate Berg to shepherd the Diocese of Pueblo,” Archbishop Aquila said today in a statement. “The Church will be enriched by his enthusiastic and energetic presence, and I am sure that the faithful will appreciate his love for Colorado.”
He continued: “Bishop-designate Berg brings with him the experience of a rich family life, a love for music and experience in both the corporate and ecclesial spheres that will serve him and the Diocese of Pueblo well.
“I and the faithful of Northern Colorado pray that God will bless his ministry here in Colorado and make it bear abundant fruit!”
Fort Worth Bishop-designate Michael F. Olson noted that the diocese is “very proud and joyful that his Holiness, Pope Francis, has appointed one of our own to be the next Bishop of Pueblo, Colorado. I personally am happy for him and the Diocese of Pueblo. His ministry as pastor, vicar general and administrator of the Diocese of Fort Worth during sede vacante (no bishop) has prepared him for his new assignment. At heart, Bishop-designate Berg is a good priest, a kind man, a true Christian and a wise leader.”
Bishop-designate Berg, 62, is a native of Miles City, Montana. He is the son of Connie and Jeanne Berg and the oldest of 10 children. He attended Catholic schools in Miles City, graduating from Sacred Heart High School in 1969. He earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1973 and a Master of Music from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales in 1975.
Upon graduation, Bishop-designate Berg taught music at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth. Subsequently, he worked 14 years in the retail nursery industry as vice president or general manager for divisions of Sunbelt Nursery, Inc. in Fort Worth, Southern California, Phoenix and Atlanta.
Bishop-designate Berg entered Assumption Seminary in San Antonio in 1993 where he received a Master of Divinity degree from Oblate School of Theology in 1999.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1999 by his maternal uncle Bishop Joseph L. Charron, C.PP.S, S.T.D, now the Bishop Emeritus of Des Moines.
After his ordination, Bishop-elect Berg served as parochial vicar of St. Michael Catholic Church in Bedford, Texas from 1999 to 2001. In 2001, he became parochial vicar of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in North Richland Hills, Texas. From 2002 to 2008, he was pastor of four rural parishes: St. Mary in Henrietta, St. Jerome in Bowie, St. William in Montague and St. Joseph in Nocona. In 2008, Bishop Kevin Vann appointed him vicar general of the Diocese of Fort Worth and concurrently he served as pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church. In 2010, he became the Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese under Bishop Vann and also served as administrator of Holy Name of Jesus parish. Upon Bishop Vann’s installation as Bishop of Orange, then-Monsignor Berg was elected diocesan administrator in December 2012 by the College of Consultors for the Diocese.
The Diocese of Pueblo encompasses 48,000 square miles and has a Catholic population of approximately 64,000. The 72-year-old Diocese has 53 parishes, 44 missions and four Catholic schools.