BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The new Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi was introduced to the faithful Friday. Msgr. Louis Kihneman of Corpus Christi, TX, said he was surprised, honored, and humbled by his selection to become the fourth Bishop in the history of the diocese.
"I can tell you already that he is a very kind, gentle, warm, outgoing person. We've had phone conversations over the past 10 days, but it's the nature of these pontifical secrets that you can't reveal," said retiring Bishop Roger Morin, as he kicked off a news conference to introduce his successor.
That secret was made public Friday morning with the news that Kihneman will be the next Bishop of Biloxi.
"I knew there were a lot of other things I could do as a person, but I always had a tugging to be, serve the altar of God and to serve the people of God in a way that spoke eternity," said Kihneman.
Those attending the news conference found the new Bishop-elect to be warm and engaging with a sense of humor.
"People have asked me, well, when did you know you wanted to be a priest? I said about five minutes before I walked up to be ordained a priest I really knew when I wanted to be a priest," said the Bishop-elect as he drew laughs from the crowd.
Though he's served as a priest for nearly 40 years in Corpus Christi, the new bishop is no stranger to this area.
"I am a son of the Gulf Coast. There, I'll say it. My father was in the oil business. He worked for Mobil oil operation. We moved many, many times when I was younger, actually spent a number of summers here as a boy. So, I have very, very fond memories of being here," said Kihneman.
Morin presented his successor with a special head piece called the zuchetto.
"I have the privilege this morning, monsignor," said Morin, as he placed the zuchetto atop his successor's head. "Kind of like crowning him," he said, drawing laughter.
Kihneman looks forward to meeting everyone in his new assignment. He told the group his heart is with the people, and he's found great joy in being a pastor.
"I think all the priests can probably say the same thing. It's a journey of faith. As you go through each year of seminary, it's a decision to be with the Lord in that way. To serve his people," said the Bishop-elect.
The ordination and installation ceremony for the new bishop will be Feb. 17 at Nativity Cathedral in downtown Biloxi. That day also happens to be, Kihneman's birthday.