Catholics welcome third bishop for Diocese of Lubbock

Catholics welcome third bishop for Diocese of Lubbock

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LUBBOCK -

He's the new shepherd leading the flock of faithful on the South Plains. The Catholic Diocese of Lubbock welcomed Monday its new bishop, Robert Coerver. He was appointed by Pope Francis. Coerver was ordained and installed at Christ the King Cathedral.

Most Rev. Plácido Rodríguez is officially leaving his post as bishop of the Lubbock diocese. He has been the leader for about 22 years. 

"The church of Lubbock is alive," he said. "So what we have handed over is a church that is fully alive and ready to keep on going and doing the work of the Lord."

Coerver is the third bishop for the diocese.  The ordination mass went about two hours. The church was packed with bishops, parishioners, priests and Coerver's family.

Bishop Coerver was given a ring, miter, and pastoral staff.  He sums up the celebration in one word: beautiful. He also explained the significance of the staff, which pretty much symbolizes his new role.

"What is unique about this staff, it is a shepherd's staff," he said. "It is not a staff of power. It is something to symbolize the role of shepherding and tending the flock."

The bishop's nephew, Richard Coerver, said he couldn't miss seeing his uncle embark on this new journey. He came all the way from Connecticut. 

"We thought he was destined for great things, and the Lord saw it was time for him to move to the next step," he said. "We are extremely proud of him. We are very thankful for this opportunity for him. We are also very thankful for the people of Lubbock, because they have really opened their arms to him."

Rodríguez is now a bishop emeritus. He will go back to Chicago and continue missionary work.  Ashley Rodríguez is his niece. She said her uncle has worked really hard.

"He needs a break," she said. "We hope that his predecessor does as good of a job. We have many prayers for him that he will do just as well."

Bishop Coerver said his main focus is to get to know the diocese. He will visit parishes and celebrate mass with his fellow faithful. 

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