Shreveport bishop chosen to lead Baton Rouge diocese

By Hannah Brockhaus

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A bishop's pectoral cross. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/EWTN.

The Vatican announced Tuesday Pope Francis' appointment of Bishop Michael Gerard Duca, of the northern Louisiana diocese of Shreveport, to be the newest bishop of Baton Rouge.

Duca, 66, who has led the Shreveport diocese since 2008, will take over in Baton Rouge from Bishop Robert William Muench, whose resignation the pope accepted June 26 after Muench turned 75 in December.

In a June 26 statement on his retirement, Muench said his 16 years as head of the Baton Rouge diocese were “a profound honor and joy,” and that he will forever hold the clergy, religious, seminarians, and lay Catholics of the diocese “deep in heart and mind, in spirit and prayer.”

Bishop Duca, as his replacement, will be welcomed “with open hearts and open arms,” Muench continued, noting the Louisiana bishop’s training in the areas of theology, spirituality, canon law, psychology, seminary ministry, health care, ecumenism and administration.

“By nature, person, character, disposition, education and experience, Bishop Duca is eminently qualified for this position as one who radiates the love and joy of Jesus Christ,” he said, also extending his personal support.

Duca’s installation as the sixth bishop of Baton Rouge will take place Aug. 24 at St. Joseph Cathedral.

Born June 5, 1952 in Dallas, Texas, Duca studied at the city’s Holy Trinity Seminary before being ordained a priest for the diocese April 29, 1978.

From 1994-1996 he studied for a license in canon law at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also called the “Angelicum,” in Rome.

In addition to his ministry at various Dallas-area parishes, Duca has served as the diocese’s vocations director, the director of ongoing formation of priests, and as a campus minister at Southern Methodist University.

He has also been a member of the diocese’s personnel board, priests’ council, and College of Consultors. In 2004 he was given the title of monsignor by Pope John Paul II.

Duca was rector of Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas from 1996 until his appointment as bishop of Shreveport in 2008. For two years he served as president of the National Association of College Seminaries.

The bishop is currently a member of the United States and Louisiana bishops’ conferences and was formerly president of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference.

He is a fourth degree Knight of Columbus and a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

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