STEUBENVILLE - Monsignor Jeffrey Marc Monforton will be ordained and installed as the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville's fifth bishop during a Mass set for 2 p.m. Sept. 10 on the campus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
He will be the second diocesan bishop to be installed in the university's Finnegan Fieldhouse. His predecessor, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, was ordained and installed during church ceremonies in the fieldhouse approximately 10 years ago.
Monforton was publicly announced as the next bishop for the 13-county Eastern Ohio diocese of 38,000 Catholics during a press conference Tuesday at the diocesan Chancery offices.
The 49-year-old Detroit archdiocese priest will replace Conlon, who was appointed bishop of the Joliet, Ill., diocese one year ago.
"We offered Finnegan Fieldhouse for the ordination and installation of Monsignor Monforton and the diocese accepted our offer," said the Rev. Terence Henry, T.O.R., university president.
"The fieldhouse can accommodate a number of people. We have a person who organizes our student workers and we will be able to handle the visitors to the campus easily. When Bishop Conlon was ordained and installed as bishop several years ago, we had no problems with the parking," related Henry.
"It will be a very exciting day as Monsignor Monforton will receive the fullness of holy orders when he is ordained a bishop. The monsignor will have a lot to say as to who will participate in the Mass," said Henry.
"It will also be an opportunity for our new bishop to see our campus and meet some of our students. We are honored to be able to offer the fieldhouse for the special day. And we will pray for good weather on Sept. 10," Henry noted.
During his introductory press conference earlier this week, Monforton indicated he will ask Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron, Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr and Cardinal Adam J. Maida to concelebrate the Mass.
"I have to return to St. Andrew parish in Rochester, Mich. I was appointed pastor of the church just seven weeks ago and now I have to prepare to leave that assignment," Monforton said during his press conference.
Monforton was born in 1963 in Detroit and ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit on June 25, 1994.
"There are a lot of options to study in this diocese. I will continue a healthy assessment of what has been proposed by Conlon. I want the church to be welcoming with a strong pastoral outreach. One of my hallmarks has always been education. I look at how we can work with younger children and how do we bolster older children in their faith," Monforton noted.
The bishop-designate will also focus on getting to know Eastern Ohio and the people he will lead.
"I am not used to your valleys," he laughed. "In Detroit, a valley is 12 to 15 feet deep. You have real valleys here. I have enjoyed the beauty here. The people in Steubenville have been very welcoming," observed Monforton.
"My first priority as bishop of Steubenville will be the salvation of souls. I also want to make sure our parishes are strong. And I want to look at our media. I want to broaden our approach. I have a smartphone but I don't have time for Facebook or Twitter. I also believe education is essential. I also believe there is a need for social outreach in the diocese," cited Monforton.
"The resources here are different. There is a longer drive time here. But I look forward to coming here," Monforton said.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)