Most Reverend David L. Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay

Bishop-Ricken_Harmann-Studios_2013David Laurin Ricken was born Nov. 9, 1952, to George William "Bill" and Bertha (Davis) Ricken in Dodge City, Kansas, the second of three children, including Mark and Carol.

He attended Sacred Heart Cathedral Grade School in Dodge City, and St. Francis Seminary High School in Victoria, Kansas. He entered college at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio, and graduated from Conception Seminary College in Conception, Missouri, in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy. He conducted his theological studies for the Diocese of Pueblo at St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana and the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium where he earned his graduate degree in sacred theology and completed his seminary formation.

He was ordained a priest on Sept. 12, 1980, by the Bishop of Pueblo, Arthur Tafoya, at La Junta Catholic Parish in southeast Colorado. His first appointment was as associate pastor to the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pueblo. Five years later, he was named the administrator of Holy Rosary Parish in Pueblo and vice chancellor of the Diocese.

In 1987, then-Father Ricken attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he received his Licentiate degree (J.C.L.) in Canon Law (church law) in 1989. Upon returning to the diocese, he was appointed the vocation director and vicar for ministry formation. Three years later, he added diocesan chancellor to his responsibilities as well as assisting in the Diocesan Tribunal. He served in these positions until Oct. 1, 1996, when he was nominated to be an official of the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican where he served through December 1999.

On Jan. 6, 2000, he was ordained to the episcopacy for the Diocese of Cheyenne at the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. The Mass of Welcome to the Diocese of Cheyenne took place on Feb. 11, 2000, in Cheyenne. On Sept. 26, 2001, Bishop Ricken succeeded Bishop Joseph Hart as the seventh leader of the Diocese of Cheyenne.

Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Ricken the twelfth bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay on July 9, 2008. He was installed as bishop on Aug. 28, 2008, at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay.

During his tenure as bishop in Green Bay, he has issued the following:

  • A 3,500-word pastoral letter, "A New Moment for Catechesis in the Diocese of Green Bay" in November 2009 that focuses on the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults and its role in faith formation and religion instruction in the diocese.
  • The "Decree on the Authenticity of the Apparitions of 1859 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help" in Champion, Wisconsin, to Adele Brise. This decree was issued on December 8, 2010, when Bishop Ricken was the first and only diocesan bishop in the United States to officially approve a Marian apparition.
  • A 2,100-word "Pastoral Statement on Living Justice in the Diocese of Green Bay" in 2011 that calls for establishment of a new diocesan Commission on Living Justice to take the leading role in the catechesis, planning and implementation of Catholic social teaching in the Diocese of Green Bay.
  • A 10,020-word pastoral letter, "Parishes: Called to be Holy, Fully Engaged, Fully Alive" on the Solemnity of Pentecost, June 12, 2011, that focuses on the priorities for parishes and the Diocese of Green Bay. By looking at what is good and great in the parish communities, he challenges all to dare to dream about what we could become as parish communities called to be holy, fully engaged and fully alive.

Bishop Ricken is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. He is presently a member of the Bishops' Advisory Council for the Institute for Priestly Formation and the Catholic Mutual Relief Society.

Formerly, he served on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' editorial oversight board for the National Directory of Catechesis and was a member of the Committee for Domestic Justice and Human Development, the Committee on Home Missions, and the Committee for Canonical Affairs. He represented his region as a member of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. He is past-President of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. He is the former Chairman of the Committee on the American College of Louvain in Belgium.

Most Reverend Robert F. Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay

Bishop Robert F. Morneau was born Sept. 10, 1938, in New London, the fourth of six children of Leroy F. and Catherine (Fealey) Morneau. He graduated from Bear Creek High School and studied at St. Norbert College in De Pere and Sacred Heart Seminary in Oneida before earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

morneauHe was ordained to the priesthood on May 28, 1966, by Bishop John B. Grellinger and worked as an assistant pastor in his hometown before accepting appointments in Manitowoc where he was a faculty member at Holy Family College (now known as Silver Lake College) and chaplain at the UW community college and Park Town Home. He has also taught at the Summer Theological Institute of St. Norbert College and served on the college's Board of Trustees.

Father Morneau became an Auxiliary Bishop on Feb. 22, 1979. He was one of the first American priests to be named a bishop by Pope John Paul II. Through the years, he has served the Diocese as a member of the College of Consultors and the Diocesan Finance Council; as the Vicar for Priests and the Vicar General; and as pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.

He is not only an avid runner and golfer, but also a reader of poetry and prose, and peppers his homilies and talks with references to his favorite literary treasures. A poet and author himself, he has written several books, and many of his essays appear in such periodicals as U.S. Catholic, St. Anthony Messenger, AMERICA and Emmanuel. In addition to writing, he gives retreats and lectures throughout the United States to lay groups as well as bishops and cardinals. He is considered the U.S. Catholic Church's premier resource on stewardship, an expression of discipleship through which we gratefully receive God's gifts, tenderly care for them, generously share them, and humbly return them to God.

He describes his ministry as this: "Priesthood has been a gift and a responsibility for me. As a gift, what a grace to be a part of so many people’s faith life. As a responsibility, it has brought a bundle of joys and sorrows, that is, a participation in the life of Jesus."

He submitted his resignation to the Holy Father Sept. 10, 2013 -- his 75th birthday -- in accord with Canon Law (church law). The Diocese of Green Bay announced on Oct. 7, 2013, that the Vatican had accepted his resignation.

Most Reverend Robert J. Banks, Retired Bishop of Green Bay

Most Reverend Robert J. Banks is a native of Boston, Mass., where he was born on Feb. 26, 1928, to Robert J. and Rita K. (Sullivan) Banks. He entered the seminary after graduating from Cathedral High School in Boston and was ordained a priest in Rome's Lateran Basilica on Dec. 20, 1952.

banksHe spent most of his priesthood as a professor of Canon Law and then as Rector at St. John's Seminary in Boston. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop for Boston on Sept. 19, 1985, and was then installed as the 10th Bishop of Green Bay on Dec. 5, 1990.

Bishop Banks' efforts in the Diocese of Green Bay centered mainly on the spiritual, including the Emmaus Program for priests and RENEW 2000 for everyone. Another important part of his ministry has been the program of parish visitation in which he spends almost a full day meeting with as many people as possible in each of the parishes. Bishop Banks has also developed a good relationship with the Lutheran, Episcopalian and Methodist church leaders, building on the covenant that was started by his predecessor, then-Bishop Adam Maida (now Cardinal Maida of Detroit).

He also encouraged vocations to the priesthood and religious life, strengthened ministry to the young and to newcomers, especially Hispanics, and he initiated several projects designed to make the Sunday Mass the best celebration it can be in each parish.

Bishop Banks has had a lifelong interest in education. He has served as the chair of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Education and the Committee on the Catechism. He served as the chair of the National Catholic Education Association.

He submitted his resignation to the Holy Father Feb. 26, 2003 -- his 75th birthday -- in accord with Canon Law (church law).