Six priests in the Diocese of Bismarck have been given the honorary title of monsignor. Monsignor is a title of honor granted by the pope, usually at the request of the local bishop. Bishop David D. Kagan requested the titles for the priests.
The new monsignors are:
The Rev. James Braaten, episcopal vicar for the Diocese of Bismarck and pastor of the Church of the Ascension in Bismarck. Braaten served as pastor of St. James Church in Mohall and its mission churches St. James Church in Sherwood and Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Tolley from July 22, 1991, until June 27, 2001. The Tolley church was closed on Sept. 25, 1994.
Msgr. James Shea
The Rev. Gene Lindemann, vicar general for the Diocese of Bismarck and pastor of the Church of St. Mary in Bismarck. He served as part-time chaplain at Bishop Ryan High School in Minot from Aug. 25, 1986, to July 1, 1987. He served as pastor of St. Nicholas Church, Garrison, and its mission church, Immaculate Conception in Max from Aug. 1, 1995, to Sept. 1, 1997, and as pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church in Minot from July 1, 1998, to July 4, 2007.
The Rev. Thomas Richter, vocation director and vicar for deacons in the Diocese of Bismarck, as well as rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck. He was parochial administrator of St. Joseph's Church in Williston and St. John the Baptist Church, Trenton, from Feb. 29 to June 28 of this year.
The Rev. Chad Gion, pastor of the Church of Spirit of Life in Mandan, Church of St. Anthony in St. Anthony and Church of St. Martin in Huff.
The Rev. Patrick Schumacher, director of continuing education for clergy in the Diocese of Bismarck and pastor of the Church of St. Wenceslaus in Dickinson.
The Rev. James Shea, president of the University of Mary in Bismarck.
There are three grades of papal honors that bear the title monsignor. The first is Chaplain of His Holiness. Braaten, Gion, Richter, Schumacher and Shea are all now Chaplains of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. The second grade is Prelate of Honor, which is the title that has been given to Lindemann. The third and most prestigious grade is Protonotary Apostolic, a title held by Kagan.
There are now seven monsignors in the diocese. Msgr. Gerald Walsh received the honorary title in December 1991.
The title of monsignor honors a priest's service to the Catholic Church and bears no extra duties or responsibilities except for the privilege of wearing different vestments during liturgical celebrations.