Pope Francis has named Msgr. Louis Kihneman, a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas, to serve as the fourth Bishop of Biloxi. The appointment was announced today, December 16 in Washington, D.C. by the papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.
Bishop-elect Kihneman, the new chief shepherd of the 58,000 Catholics in South Mississippi, succeeds Bishop Roger Morin, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 on March 7, 2016. Bishop-elect Kihneman was introduced at a news conference today, Friday, December 16, at the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Biloxi.
Bishop Morin called the appointment of Bishop-elect Kihneman “a wonderful early Christmas gift from Pope Francis” for the people of the Diocese of Biloxi.
Bishop-elect Kihneman, no stranger to the Gulf Coast region, said he is both honored and humbled by the Holy Father’s appointment.
“It is with great joy and deep humility and faith that I accept the appointment by our Holy Father to be the next Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi. I have been deeply touched by the welcome and hospitality that I have already received, especially from Bishop Morin and my brother priests,” he said. “As a son of a family of the Gulf Coast I have fond memories of summers and summer camp as a boy in the area and thus I feel as if the Lord has led me full circle in some ways back home. I look forward to getting to know you and growing with you in the love of Jesus Christ and together sharing that love with all our brother and sisters. We have a deep call to share the Word of God, the Good News with all and to bring them to Christ. I look forward to building on all the good work that has already been done. May our loving God bless us as we build up his kingdom together.”
Bishop-elect Kihneman was ordained to the priesthood on November 18, 1977 at the Corpus Christi Cathedral by Bishop Thomas J. Drury. Presently, Bishop-elect Kihneman serves the Diocese of Corpus Christi as Vicar General & Moderator of the Curia while also serving St. Philip the Apostle Parish as Pastor.
Bishop-elect Kihneman was born in Lafayette, LA on Feb. 17, 1952 and baptized at Our Lady of Wisdom Parish. He received First Holy Communion at St. Andrew’s Parish in New Orleans in 1958 and was confirmed at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Corpus Christi, TX in 1963. On March 26, 1977, he was ordained to the transitional diaconate and on November 18th of that same year, was ordained to the priesthood.
His first assignment in 1977 as Parochial Vicar to San Isidro Labrador Parish in Artega, Mexico was followed by Parochial Vicar assignments to St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Robstown, TX (1978-1980), Christ the King Parish, Corpus Christi, TX (1980-1981), and Ss. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Corpus Christi, TX (1981-1983). Bishop-elect Kihneman’s assignments as Pastor began at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Alice, TX (1983-1986) then Sacred Heart Parish, Rockport, TX (1993-2011) and St. Philip the Apostle Parish, Corpus Christi, TX (2014 to present).
Bishop-elect Kihneman has served the following diocesan offices; Diocesan Director of Religious Education (1978-1983); Director of Vocations (1986-1993); Director of Seminarians (1986-1993); Director of Ministry to Priests (1986-1993); Director of St. John Vianney House of Studies and Christian Leadership Vocations Program (1986-1993); Associate Vicar for Clergy (1988-1995); Tribunal Advocate (1983-1987); Chancellor (2013-2014); and Vicar General (2010-present).
Over the years, Bishop-elect Kihneman has served and continues to serve on many diocesan boards. He is currently a member of the Priest Personnel Board, Presbyteral Council, the Diocesan Finance Council, Diocesan Deposit and Loan Board, the Priest Pension Plan Board and is Chair of the Perpetual Benefit Endowment Fund of the Diocese.
Bishop-elect Kihneman is the son of Louis Kihneman, Jr. & Bernadine Kihneman (both deceased). They were natives of Morgan City, Louisiana and raised Bishop-elect Kihneman along with his brothers, Kenneth (Donna) and David (Hilda) in the gulf coast from Clearwater, Florida to Corpus Christi, Texas with Pecos, Texas and Calgary, Alberta, Canada in between. Bishop-elect Kihneman’s family includes a nephew, several nieces, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
Bishop-elect Louis Kihneman attended the Corpus Christi Minor Seminary from 1966 -1972 during which time he graduated from high school in 1970 and also attended Del Mar College from 1970-1972. He then attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, Texas and the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas from 1972-1977. He received his Liberal Arts degree in 1974 Summa Cum Laude. He completed a Masters of Religious Education degree in 1976 and a Masters of the Arts in Theology degree in 1977. He has taught Scripture and Liturgy in the Diocesan Pastoral Institute and the St. Paul School of Catechesis of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. He has also taught Homiletics in the Permanent Diaconate program of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. He is the 2011 recipient of the NCEA Distinguished Pastor Award in recognition of his outstanding support for Catholic Education. Bishop-elect Kihneman has served as a priest for the Diocese of Corpus Christi for the past 39 years.
Bishop-elect Kihneman will be ordained and installed as the Bishop of Biloxi on February 17, 2017 at 2:30 pm at the Nativity of the BVM Cathedral, Biloxi.
Until that time, Bishop Morin will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Biloxi.