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WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Muench from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and has appointed as Bishop of that same See, the Most Reverend Michael Duca, up until now Bishop of Shreveport. Bishop Muench has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.
The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington on June 26, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Most Reverend Robert William Muench was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on December 28, 1942 and three years later moved with his family to New Orleans, Louisiana.
In 1956, he began studies for the priesthood at St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, Louisiana, graduating from its high school in 1960. After two years of junior college study, he went on to attend Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans for two years, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy.
From 1964 to 1968 he completed his theological seminary studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and also earned an M.A. degree in Education (Guidance and Counseling). He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, May 18, 1968. On December 15, 2001, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Muench to be the Fifth Bishop of Baton Rouge. Bishop Muench was installed as Bishop of Baton Rouge at St. Joseph Cathedral on March 14, 2002. Since assuming the office of bishop in Baton Rouge, Bishop Muench paid special attention to the Church's ministry to young people. A particular concern for Bishop Muench was collaboration with the Archdiocese of New Orleans during the fall of 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Most Reverend Michael Gerard Duca was born on June 5, 1952 in Dallas, Texas. Bishop Duca attended Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas from 1970 to 1978. He was ordained a priest on April 29, 1978 for the Diocese of Dallas.
He served the Diocese of Dallas as vocations director and chaplain at Southern Methodist University from 1985 to 1992.
Additionally, he studied in Rome from 1994 to 1996 at the University of St. Thomas Angelicum where he received his Licentiate in Canon Law.
On December 20, 2004, the Prelate of Honor was conferred to him by His Holiness John Paul II of the Title of Reverend Monsignor. He was called to the order of bishop on April 1, 2008, for service in North Louisiana. On May 19, 2008, he was ordained and installed as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport. From 1996 to 2008, he served as Rector at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas.
During his active ministry as priest and prior to his appointment as diocesan bishop, Bishop Duca served in many different parishes in the Dallas area, including: All Saints Catholic Church, St. Patrick Catholic Church and St. Luke Catholic Church. He also previously served the Diocese of Dallas as Vocations Director, was a member of the Personnel Board, Campus Minister at Southern Methodist University, member of the Presbyteral Council, member of the College of Consultors, and Director of Ongoing Formation of Priests. Bishop Duca previously served for two years as President of the National Association of College Seminaries.
The Diocese of Baton Rouge is comprised of 5,513 square miles in the state of Louisiana and has a total population of 991,335 of which 225,477 or 22.75 percent are Catholic.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Robert Muench, Bishop Michael Duca, Diocese of Baton Rouge
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