.- On Thursday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has chosen Fr. Steven Biegler, a native of Rapid City, South Dakota, as the next bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne, WY.
A March 16 message posted on the Rapid City diocese’s website wished Fr. Biegler well in his new role on behalf of Bishop Robert Gruss, the clergy, religious and people of the diocese, saying, “we pray that God will continue to richly bless you with wisdom, vitality and the love of Christ and his people.”
Fr. Biegler, 58, has been a priest of the Diocese of Rapid City since his ordination July 9, 1993. Most recently, he has held the position as Vicar General of the diocese since 2011 and Rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help since 2016.
The Diocese of Cheyenne encompasses the entirety of the state of Wyoming and has a total population of 584,153 people, of whom 55,336 are Catholic.
The official See of the Cheyenne diocese has been only been vacant for five months, making Biegler’s appointment a quick one, since bishop appointments typically take at least a year to approve.
The former bishop of Cheyenne, Paul D. Etienne was appointed Archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska by Pope Francis Oct. 4, 2016.
Bishop-elect Biegler was born March 22, 1959, in Mobridge, South Dakota, in the diocese of Rapid City. After high school, he studied for a year at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
He then entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Winona, Minn., and later studied at the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, obtaining his Bachelor of Arts in Theology in 1992.
In 2007, he received a License in Biblical Theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
After his ordination, Biegler was named Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City from 1993-1994, then Parochial Administrator of Immaculate Conception Parish in Bonesteel, Saint Anthony Parish in Fairfax, and Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Ponca Creek from 1994-1996.
From 1996-2003, he was Co-Pastor of Saint Bernard Parish in McLaughlin with the mission churches of Saint Bonaventure in McIntosh, Saint Bede in Wakpala, Saint Aloysius in Bullhead, Assumption in Kenel and Saint Michael in Watauga.
He was a member of the College of Consultors from 1998-2003 and then again since 2009. He was also Director of Pastoral Formation at the Pontifical North American College from 2003-2006.
From 2007-2010 Bishop-elect Biegler was Chaplain of the diocesan Catholic schools, and of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City and Diocesan Administrator of Rapid City from 2010-2011.
He was Pastor of Our Lady of the Black Hills parish in Piedmonth from 2011-2015.