Vatican City, Apr 25, 2019 / 04:04 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Thursday appointed Donald J. Hying the next bishop of Madison, Wis., following the death of Bishop Robert C. Morlino in November.
Hying, 55, has been the bishop of Gary, Ind. since 2014. Before that he was an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisc. for three and a half years.
He replaces Bishop Morlino, who died Nov. 24, 2018 at St. Mary Hospital in Madison after suffering a cardiac event while undergoing scheduled medical tests. He was 71.
Morlino was installed as the fourth bishop of Madison Aug. 1, 2003. Prior to his time in Madison, he was bishop of Helena.
Bishop Hying was born on Aug. 18, 1963 in West Allis, Wis. He is the youngest of six brothers. He was ordained a priest for the Milwaukee archdiocese in May 1989 at the age of 25.
He is fluent in Spanish. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history, philosophy and theology from Marquette University and a master’s of divinity degree from St. Francis de Sales Seminary.
From 2007 to 2011 he was the rector of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee.
As bishop of Gary, Hying called the diocese’s first synod in 2017, following which he outlined the top pastoral priorities for the diocese over the coming years.
In support of those plans, Hying was making comprehensive visits to each parish in the diocese during 2019.
The Diocese of Madison was established in 1945 and has 104 parishes and 142 diocesan and religious priests.
The diocese has around 285,000 Catholics, which is just over 27% of the area’s total population.
In the statement announcing the death of Morlino in November, the Diocese of Madison outlined his three priorities as bishop. These were to “increase the number and quality of men ordained to the diocesan priesthood,” to increase a sense of reverence throughout the diocese, and “to challenge Catholic institutions in the diocese to live out their professed faith in Jesus Christ” with their ministry in the secular realm.
In August 2018, Morlino released a pastoral letter saying the “homosexual subculture” within the Church was “wreaking great devastation.” He also called for additional Masses of reparation and fasting, and promised to respond firmly to any allegations of sexual misconduct by members of the clergy or seminarians.