BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Catholic Diocese of Biloxi will be getting a new leader. Next month, Bishop Roger Morin will turn in his letter of resignation to the Vatican. Bishop Morin may be stepping down, but he will continue to serve the faithful.
Bishop Morin celebrated what might be his last Ash Wednesday mass as the Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi. The mass was held at Nativity BVM Cathedral, the same church where he was installed as the third bishop of the diocese in 2009.
"It's a great honor and being the one chosen. It's also a great responsibility," said Bishop Morin.
It is a responsibility that involves working seven days a week, shepherding a flock of 60,000 Catholics in 42 parishes and missions. The bishop said he always enjoys visiting churches in all 17 Mississippi counties.
"The hospitality is always warm and gracious and generous," he said.
The days of meetings, traveling, groundbreakings and other obligations are coming to an end. As required by Catholic Canon Law, Bishop Morin will turn in his letter of resignation to the Vatican on his 75th birthday, March 7.
"We're going to miss him. I think he's the best bishop we've ever had. I hate to see him retire, but it's mandatory," said Parishioner Jules Galle.
"His humor comes out in all of his sermons and he relaxes you. He's one of the best bishops I've come across. I've only been here three years, but I love him," said Parishioner Judy Shugart.
Bishop Morin said there is really no such thing as a retired bishop. As long as he is blessed with good health, he will continue to assist with special masses, and maybe, discover some new talents.
"Up until now, it's always the responsibility that comes first and then your personal disposition comes second. I might study art in my spare time. There may be a great artist hidden in me," Morin said with a laugh.
Only the Pope can appoint a new bishop, a process that could take between six to nine months. Until his successor is named, Morin will continue to serve as bishop of the Biloxi Diocese.