BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Bishop Roger Morin took his first official tour of the administrative offices of the Diocese of Biloxi Monday morning.
"My home," he said.
He also met with staff members and priests who will look to him as their leader. The newly-appointed Bishop of Biloxi got the surprising phone call from Pope Benedict's representative about three weeks ago, and was told to keep the news a secret, until now.
"I said, 'You have good news for me?' 'Yes,' he said. 'The Holy Father has decided to name you to be the Bishop of Biloxi.' And that was the good news of the day. I was startled, because it wasn't a call I was expecting," said Bishop Roger Morin.
Bishop Morin answered God's call to serve back in 1968, when he came in New Orleans to help the inner-city poor.
"I fell in love with the south and with the people," said Morin.
He was ordained a priest in 1971. In 2003, he was ordained auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Now, he is about to take on his next challenge -- leading a flock of more than 58,000 Catholics in 42 parishes in the Diocese of Biloxi.
"I am humbled by the confidence placed in me by our Holy Father," said Morin.
Bishop Morin says he was appointed to the position, because of his experience in dealing with hurricanes in New Orleans. He actually toured the devastation along the Mississippi Gulf Coast right after Katrina. Rebuilding will be among his biggest challenges.
"Reliant upon Archbishop Thomas Rodi's great zeal and energy, I expect that when I arrive here by the end of April, everything will have been done," said Morin.
That comment drew laughter from the crowd of about 30 people.
The bishop has no specific plans for the diocese, but says he is ready to listen and learn about the community's needs. The tasks ahead and his new title are starting to sink in.
"When you get there, you're actually having the experience. So being here is wonderful," said Morin.
Here are some interesting facts about Bishop Roger Morin:
- He was born in Massachusetts and has lived in New Orleans for more than 40 years.
- While his house on Carrollton Avenue survived Katrina, the structure burned to the ground when Morin evacuated to Baton Rouge.
- Morin will turn 68-years-old on Saturday.
- He is bilingual and enjoys celebrating mass in French.