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Most Reverend Steven R. Biegler, 2017-present

Bishop Steven Biegler Bishop Steven Biegler was born on March 22, 1959, in Mobridge. His family owns a farm-ranch operation near Timber Lake, SD. His parents are Alfred (deceased) and Mary Biegler. He has six brothers and six sisters, including Rhonda Nickerson, who passed away July 9, 2010.

He graduated from Timber Lake High School in 1977. He attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City for one year, 1977-78. “I took a day to think about life and seminary came to mind. I said, ‘Not right now, I’ll have to think about that.’ I was also considering ranching and having a family and those thoughts were part of considering the priesthood and celibacy,” said Bishop Steven.

Most of the next eight years, he worked on the family farm. “We had radios in the tractor, but I would often just turn the radio off. That was a really powerful place of meeting God in the beauty and quiet of nature,” he said, adding, “It was wonderful time for prayer and discernment.”

When he felt he needed a change, “I left for a little bit and went to Wyoming and worked with a construction crew filling in old underground coal mines around Glenrock near Casper. They had slurry of gravel and a compound similar to concrete. They were trying to stabilize those mines because they were caving in under the town."

“I went back to NAC as a faculty member from 2003 to 2006, and stayed another year, 2007, and finished a biblical theology degree,” he said. From the University of St. Thomas in Rome he received an STL (License in Biblical Theology).

In 2010-11, he served as Diocesan Administrator following the departure of then-Bishop Blase Cupich for his appointment as Bishop of Spokane, Wash., until the ordination of the current ordinary, Bishop Robert Gruss.
His other appointments include:

  • Diocesan Parishes Served
  • 1993-1994, Associate Pastor, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral, Rapid City
  • 1994-1996, Administrator, Immaculate Conception, Bonesteel; St. Anthony’s, Fairfax; St. Francis Xavier, Ponca Creek
  • 1996-2003, Co-Pastor, St. Bernard, McLaughlin; St. Bonaventure, McIntosh;
  • 2001-2003, St. Aloysius, Bullhead; Assumption of the BVM, Kenel; St. Bede, Wakpala; St. Michael, Watauga
  • 2003-2006, Director of Apostolic and Pastoral Formation, North American College, Rome
  • 2006-2007, Assistant to the Rector of the Casa Santa Maria, Rome
  • 2007-2010 Chaplain, Rapid City Catholic Schools; Chaplain, SDSM&T Newman Center, Pastoral Ministry, St. Michael, Hermosa
  • 2010-2011, Diocesan Administrator, Diocese of Rapid City
  • 2011-2015, Pastor, Our Lady of the Black Hills, Piedmont
  • 2016-2017, Pastor, Cathedral of our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City; St. Michael, Hermosa
  • Diocesan Offices Held
  • 1998–2003 and 2009–2017 College of Consultors, Presbyteral Council;
  • 2013-2017, Vicar General
  • Bishop Steven is a member of Jesus Caritas fraternity
Bishop Steven was ordained and installed as the ninth bishop of Cheyenne on June 5, 2017.

Bishop Steven Biegler Coat of ArmsBishop's Coat of Arms The exterior is the traditional framing of a Bishop's coat of arms, a wide-brimmed green pilgrim’s hat (galero) with 12 attached tassels. The golden bottony cross contains five red stones to signify the five wounds of Christ, and one traversal bar to represent the rank of the Bishop.
The left side of the crest is for the Diocese of Cheyenne. The arms are made of a field divided by embattlements to signify that Cheyenne was a frontier fortification during the westward expansion of the United States and was named for an Indian tribe in the area. In each section is a cross pattée indicating the Gospel brought to the area by missionaries during the 1800s.
The right side contains the Coat of Arms of Bishop Steven Biegler with three symbols:
The Bible symbolizes his spirituality rooted in the living Word of God and the mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the world.
A sheaf of wheat represents God’s Word as the seed sown on rich soil which produces a hundredfold (Mark 4:1-9).
The sheep and staff remind him to imitate Jesus the Good Shepherd (Jn. 10) who “came to seek out and save what was lost” (Lk. 19:10) and recall Pope Francis’ challenge to be a “shepherd living with the smell of the sheep.”
The rural images also evoke the activity of the Bishop’s family who have been farmers and ranchers in the Dakotas and of his ancestors who emigrated from Germany, Ireland and Russia where they lived close to the land.

‘Shepherd in Compassion.’
The evangelists used a specific verb to describe Jesus’ compassion. The verb splanchnizomai means to be moved in the abdomen, the intestines and especially the womb. Thus, the intensity of God’s tender compassion is like feeling pain in your guts for a hurting family member. The gospel writers used this verb to illustrate Jesus’ deep compassion for the widow of Nain, a leper, the blind men and the multitudes who were like sheep without a shepherd (Mt. 9:36). Jesus himself used the word to depict how the Good Samaritan looked on the traveler who had been beaten and left half-dead, and the heartfelt mercy of the father who ran to embrace his wayward prodigal son. Inspired by Jesus’ mercy, Bishop Steven seeks to shepherd in compassion. He chose the preposition in because he needs to remain inside of the Lord’s merciful compassion. Only then will he be an effective shepherd of God’s compassion.

Most Reverend Paul D. Etienne, 2009 - 2016

Bishop Paul Etienne's InstallationBishop Etienne was pastor of St. Paul in Tell City, Indiana and St. Mark in St. Mark. Bishop Etienne was born on June 15, 1959, as the second son to Paul and Kay (Voges) Etienne. Two of Bishop Etienne's brothers, Bernard and Zachary, are priests for the Diocese of Evansville, Indiana and one of his two sisters, Nicolette, is a Benedictine Sister with Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana. Another brother, Richard, is married and lives in Newburg, Indiana, and another sister, Angela Etienne, lives in Evansville, Indiana.

He graduated from Tell City High School. Before entering college he was Manager of Siebert's Clothing Store in Tell City, Indiana. He attended Bellarmine College in Louisville, Kentucky (1983-1984), and graduated from the University of St. Thomas / St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. In 1986-1987 he served with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as Assistant Coordinator for Papal Visits for Pope John Paul II to the United States. From 1988-1992 he attended the North American College in Rome and received a STB (Bachelor of Sacred Theology) at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Bishop Etienne was ordained a priest on June 27, 1992 for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. His first appointment was as Associate Pastor at St. Barnabas in Indianapolis and Associate Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. From 1994-1995 he attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, receiving his STL (License in Spiritual Theology).

Following assignments and appointments:
1995-1998 Vocation Director, Archdiocese of Indianapolis
Pastor, St. Anne, Jennings County; Pastor. St. Joseph, Jennings County
1998-2007 Pastor, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, New Albany, Indiana
2007-2009 Vice-Rector, Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary, Indianapolis
2007-2008 Pastor, St. Simon, Indianapolis
2008-2009 Pastor, St. John the Evangelist, Indianapolis
2009-2016 Bishop of Cheyenne, Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming
2016 Archbishop of Anchorage, Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska

Other assignments include:
Spiritual Director, St. Meinrad School of Theology
Archdiocesan Review Board
Advisory Board, Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary
Board of Consultors
Council of Priests
Vice-Postulator for the cause of Servant of God, Bishop Simon Bruté

Bishop Etienne was the Eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne, succeeding the Most Reverend David L. Ricken who served the Diocese of Cheyenne from September 2001 to August 2008. On October 4, 2016, he was named the Fourth Archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska.

Established in 1887, the Diocese of Cheyenne is home to over 53,000 Catholics. It has 36 parishes and 36 missions. There are 52 active priests, 17 retired priests, 22 deacons, and 15 sisters.

Bishop Paul Etienne Coat of ArmsVeritas in Caritate – Truth in Love The exterior is the traditional "framing" of a Bishop's coat of arms. The left side of the crest stands for the Diocese of Cheyenne. The right side represents Bishop Etienne: At the top is a river, representing the rivers that have passed through his life; The Ohio, Tiber (Rome), Potomac (Washington, DC), Mississippi (St. Paul), White (Indianapolis),as well as the living stream of life, Jesus Christ. The tree represents both the Etienne and Voges families; The early generation of Etienne family were loggers, and the Voges family, carpentry and construction,as well as the tree of life, the cross of Jesus Christ. The sword is for St. Paul, and the book represents the Sacred Scriptures and Preaching. The M is for Bishop Etienne's devotion to the Blessed Mother. The Sun symbolizes Christ, the Dawn from on High, as well as his general love of the outdoors.

Most Reverend David Laurin Ricken, 2001 - 2008

Bishop RickenBishop Ricken Coat of ArmsThe episcopal heraldic achievement, or bishop's coat of arms, is composed of a shield, with its charges (symbols), a motto scroll and the external ornaments. The shield, which is the central and most important feature of any heraldic device, is described (blazoned) in 12th century terms, that are archaic to our modern language. By heraldic tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese, called the "Ordinary" are joined to the arms of his jurisdiction, seen in the left side of the shield. In this case, these are the arms of the Diocese of Cheyenne.

The arms are made of a field that is divided by embattlements to signify that Cheyenne was a frontier fortification during the westward expansion of the United States and is named for the Native Americans. In each section created by the central division is a cross of the Faith, indicating the truth of Christ that was brought to the area by dedicated missionaries during the 1800s.

For his personal arms on the right side of the shield, Bishop Ricken kept the major concepts rendered by Archbishop Monte Zemolo, the Apostolic Nuncio to Italy. These are composed of two sections, divided to signify the frontier settlements of Fort Dodge in Kansas, which gave rise to Dodge City where Bishop Ricken was born and that it was at Colorado's Fort Pueblo where the Bishop received his priestly ordination to serve that diocese. In the lower right hand portion, is a red heart enwrapped by a crown of golden thorns, used to signify the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was in Dodge City's Sacred Heart Cathedral that the Bishop received his Sacraments on Initiation and at Pueblo's Sacred Heart Cathedral that he served as Parochial Vicar for five years.

The upper portion of Bishop Ricken's design (upper right) contains an eight pointed golden star. This honors the Blessed Virgin Mary to whom the Bishop has great devotion and to whom he has dedicated his Episcopal ministry.

For his motto, Bishop Ricken uses the three Latin words - Caritas - Sapientia - Fortitudo. These express the three most important virtues in the Bishop's life and toward which he has directed his ministry as a bishop: Charity, Wisdom and Fortitude or Courage.

The external ornaments of a gold Episcopal processional cross and a pontifical hat, called a "gallero" with six tassels are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop, by instruction of the Holy See on March 31, 1969.

Shield development and explanationprovided by Deacon Paul Sullivan of the Diocese of Providence.

Most Reverend Hubert Joseph Hart, 1978 - 2001

Bishop HartBishop Hart Coat of ArmsThe earliest settlement in the present diocese was at Fort Laramie, where several bloody fights took place. The embattled partition represents the wall a fort against a crimson sky, with the cross of the faith on the wall of the sky. The two fleur-de-lis are abstracted from the Bishop's family coat of arms. The shield is divided by a chevron in the form of a carpenters square to honor St. Joseph, the baptismal patron of the Bishop. The grizzly bear is taken from the state seal of Kansas. The motto is "Dominus Pars," from the 16th century psalm: "The Lord is the portion of my cup and my inheritance; it is He who will return my inheritance to me." The external ornaments of the shield are composed of the pontifical hat with its six tassels on each side, disposed in three rows, all in green, and episcopal cross tinctured in gold. These are the heraldic insignia of prelate of the rank of Bishop in accordance with the Instruction of the Holy See of April, 1969. The coat of arms was designed by William Ryan of Massachusetts.

Most Reverend Hubert Newell, 1951 - 1978

Bishop Hubert NewellHubert Michael Newell (1951-1978), native and a priest of Denver, was named coadjutor bishop of Cheyenne, with the right of succession, on August 2, l947, and he succeeded to the office of ordinary at the death of his predecessor on November 8, 1951. Bishop Newell began publication of the Wyoming Catholic Register (April 11, 1952). In 1953, he persuaded the ladies of the long-existing altar and rosary societies to form the Wyoming Council of Catholic Women, a chapter of the national organization, with similar aims and functions as the Knights of Columbus. Bishop Newell promoted the Catholic Youth Organization, holding in 1959 its first state convention. He attended all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council convened by Pope John XXIII in 1962, and after the Council quickly mandated the prescribed liturgical changes, and in 1974 began commissioning men and women as lay ministers of the eucharist. In 1972, the diocesan presbyteral council recommended that there be a mandatory retirement of pastors and that the tenure of pastors and assistants be limited to a defined term, recommendations which, when put into effect, ended an era during which pastors remained in the same place for life. Bishop Newell set up a diocesan pastoral council and a board for Catholic education, the members of both elected by their deaneries. Hubert Joseph Hart came to Cheyenne as auxiliary bishop in 1976, and in 1978 Bishop Newell resigned as ordinary, but remained as apostolic administrator until a successor was named.

Most Reverend Patrick Aloysius McGovern, 1912 - 1951

Bishop McGovernPatrick Aloysius McGovern (1912-1951), the austere and formidable fourth bishop of Cheyenne, was a native and priest of Omaha. Bishop McGovern held two synods, one at the beginning of his administration (1913) in order to introduce himself to the priests, and one at the end (1948) to introduce the new coadjutor bishop, Hubert Newell. The further purpose of both synods, which included only priests, was to provide for the orderly government of clergy and people and to promote ecclesiastical discipline. At the 1913 synod, Bishop McGovern promulgated the decrees of the plenary councils of Baltimore and the statutes of the first synod of the diocese of Omaha in order to place the governance of the diocese on a regular juridical foundation. Similarly, the 1948 synod passed regulations regarding the conduct and duties of priests, administration of sacraments, conduct of liturgy, preaching and giving instructions, and the care of temporalities, all to accord with the 1917 code of Canon Law. Himself an orphan, Bishop McGovern was very much concerned about the plight of orphans in Wyoming, and worked tirelessly to establish St. Joseph's Children's Home (1930) and to obtain Sisters to care for the orphans, eventually welcoming Franciscans Sisters from Wisconsin. By 1990 St. Joseph's had become a home for troubled children and had a lay administration. In 1941 the diocese of Cheyenne became suffragan of the newly created metropolitan province of Denver.

Most Reverend James J. Keane, 1902 - 1911

Bishop KeaneJames John Keane, third bishop of Cheyenne (1902-1911), raised in Minnesota and a priest of St. Paul, came to Wyoming at a time when economic conditions were rapidly improving after a decade of depression. Population increased 60% between 1900 and 1910. Newly opened irrigated lands and new methods of dry farming, increased coal and iron mining, timber cutting, and exploration of vast oil and natural gas reserves, attracted immigrants. Bishop Keane undertook the task of bringing order to the diocesan administration and incorporated the diocese according to the laws of the state of Wyoming. Pastors were instructed to incorporate the parishes, each to have a board, which included the bishop, the pastor and two lay trustees. Soon after its foundation in 1905 Bishop Keane appealed to the Catholic Church Extension Society which became a generous and never failing channel of funds for the benefit of the Church in Wyoming. Bishop Keane directed the building of a residence and a cathedral in Cheyenne, laying the cornerstone of the cathedral July 7, l907. On August 11, l911 Bishop Keane was named archbishop of Dubuque.

Most Reverend Thomas M. Lenihan, 1897 - 1901

Bishop LenihanThomas Mathias Lenihan (1897-1901), Bishop Burke's successor appointed after almost four years, was born in Ireland and a priest of Dubuque, whose poor health, exacerbated by the high altitude and dryness, severely restricted his activity and finally compelled him to return to Iowa where he died. Fr. Cummiskey was again appointed administrator (l901-l902).

Most Reverend Maurice F. Burke, 1887 - 1897

Bishop BurkeMaurice Francis Burke, born in Ireland and a priest of Chicago, was the first bishop of Cheyenne (1887-1893). Upon his arrival in Wyoming, Bishop Burke found a diocese about the size of Great Britain, with 4 diocesan priests, a Jesuit priest and brother, 8 churches and 28 missions (soon to be 43), for about 450 families, or 7,500 widely scattered Catholics. There were 21 religious women: Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, who conducted an academy and school in Cheyenne, and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, who staffed a hospital and school in Laramie. Bishop Burke faced attacks against the Catholic Church by members of the American Protective Association ("Know Nothings"), whose hostility eventually obliged the Sisters of Charity to leave Laramie. Bishop Burke concluded that the diocese ought to be suppressed; but Rome rejected this proposal. In 1893 the diocese of Cheyenne was attached to the ecclesiastical province of Dubuque and Bishop Burke was transferred to the see of St. Joseph, Missouri. Fr. Hugh Cummiskey, pastor in Laramie, was appointed administrator of the diocese (l893-l897).