New Bishop Ordained for Grand Island Diocese

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- A new bishop was installed for the Grand Island Catholic Diocese Thursday, with a special message delivered by United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano in honor of Pope Francis.

"Beloved son, may you so devote yourself to governing the people of this Cornhusker State," said Archbishop Vigano.

Omaha Monsignor Joseph Hanefeldt was ordained as the eighth bishop of Grand Island at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"It's been a beautiful day here and just excitement of watching everybody here. It's just been wonderful," said Judy O'Donnell, who attended the installation.

"We're just filled with joy, and we're just happy!" said Valerie Conzett.

Bishop Hanefeldt succeeds Bishop William Dendinger, but many, like Conzett, believe Bishop Hanefeldt will be successful.

"We think he'll do a wonderful job. He's a great listener. He cares deeply about the people and their needs, and he's a wonderful brother priest," said Conzett.

Bishop Hanefeldt's mother sat among hundreds of others in the congregation. He says she's feeling a little overwhelmed.

Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt, Grand Island Diocese
"She's so excited, and everybody's been giving her so much congratulations and accolades that I think she's a little exhausted, but she's still awake. And she made it through," said Grand Island's Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt.

Bishop Hanefeldt is very excited, even taking into account he will be overlooking 54,000 Catholics within the diocese.

"Oh, geography is no problem. I love to drive, and I love to get out," said Bishop Hanefeldt. "But I enjoy the country. I love the country side, and I'm just looking forward to learning this diocese."

Bishop Hanefeldt says the biggest struggle to come will be all the learning he needs to get done.

"Learning every one and every thing, how things work, their history, but the challenging thing is just to grow into the role I've just received," said Bishop Hanefeldt.

Bishop Hanefeldt has a very busy schedule ahead of him, but he, and many others, is very eager for the future.

In January, Hanefeldt was announced as the bishop elect.

Before being selected, Hanefeldt served as priest of Christ The King Parish in Omaha.

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