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Volume 34 No. 24


July 28, 2017


Redemptorist Fathers to leave Diocese of Biloxi at year’s end


BILOXI -- The Diocese of Biloxi has been richly

blessed by the ministry of the Redemptorist Fathers who

arrived after Hurricane Katrina and helped rebuild and

revitalize Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos and Our Mother

of Sorrows Parishes in East Biloxi.

However, as the saying goes, all good things must

come to an end. It was announced at all the Masses the

weekend of July 15-16 that the Redemptorist Fathers

will be leaving the Diocese of Biloxi at the end of the

year. Their last day will be December 31.

“The evangelizing mission of the Redemptorists in

the Church has two major dimensions: we proclaim

Christ’s plentiful redemption, particularly to the poor

and abandoned, inviting individuals to make a radical

choice to place Christ at the center of their lives; and

since this radical choice in favor of Christ needs to be

nurtured and sustained within a community of believers,

we work to form communities of faith in which this can

effectively happen,” said Father Stephen Rehrauer, C.

Ss.R., Provincial Superior of the Redemptorists of the

Denver Province. “It was for this reason we came to

Biloxi in 2005 with an initial agreement that we would

stay for 5 years. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,

we made the decision to extend our stay in Biloxi in

order to accompany those devastated by loss and offer

practical help as well as spiritual guidance when these

were most needed. Working in conjunction with the

Diocese of Biloxi during these past 12 years we have not

only rebuilt the churches, but have fostered vibrant par-

ish communities that will continue to thrive.

“But as a mis-

s i o n a r y

Congregation in

the Church, we are

also required to

regularly evaluate

our ministerial

commitments and

to discern when

our mission has



plished in a place

so that we are free

to move and

respond to the

most urgent needs

of the Church and

the call of the Holy

Spirit in another.

In June our leader-



arrived at the deci-

sion that our mis-

sion in Biloxi has been successfully completed, and our

men currently working there are needed to serve the

mission in other places. We leave Biloxi with gratitude

for having had the opportunity to serve the poor and

abandoned of the Diocese. We also leave with confi-

dence, knowing that our good work there will be carried

forward by the Diocese.”

Bishop Louis Kihneman said the Redemptorist

Fathers will be sorely missed.

“The Redemptorist Fathers have been a blessing to

the Diocese of Biloxi,” he said.

“We will particularly miss Father Stephen Benden

and Father Gilbert Enderle who have been a very posi-

tive addition to our presbyterate.”

Father Benden is currently pastor of both parishes

and Father Enderle is in residence but assists in both

parishes. The two priests also serve as supply priests

throughout the diocese and have also conducted parish


“We are deeply grateful for their ministry and service

to the people of the Diocese of Biloxi these past 12

years,” Bishop Kihneman said.

“The Redemptorists arrived in the Diocese shortly

after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and

Father Steve Wilson was instrumental in the physical and

spiritual recovery of the parishes he served.”

Father Wilson was assisted by Father Chuong Cao,

who is now the pastor of St. Gerard Majella Church in

Baton Rouge.

Father Wilson is the provincial treasurer and is based

out of Denver.

Father Warren Drinkwater and Father James Keena,

who both served in Biloxi are now retired.

In 2009, the Redemptorist Fathers took over the

administration of Vietnamese Martyrs Parish in Biloxi,

which was pastored by Father Jimmy Pham and Father

Joseph Ngo. Administration of the parish was turned

back over to the diocese in 2015.

According to Bishop Kihneman, “Work has already

begun to find a new pastor for Our Mother of Sorrows

and Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos parishes.”

Father Benden

Father Cao

Father Enderle

Father Wilson

New Permanent Diaconate class to commence in 2018

Bishop Louis F. Kihneman III has authorized information sessions to be held across

the diocese which will begin the implementation of a new Diaconate Formation Class.

The selection process will begin in the fall of this year and classes would com-

mence in the fall of 2018.

Pre-selection information sessions will be conducted from 8:30 until noon on the

following days:

Sat., Aug. 19

, at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Hattiesburg, located at 3117 W. 4th


Sat., September 9

, at St. Joseph Parish, Gulfport, located at 12290 DePew Road

(Orange Grove)

Sat., Sept. 19,

at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Ocean Springs, located at 4900 Riley


For interested men, attendance at one of these sessions is mandatory, and your wife

is required to attend. Please see your pastor, and for further information, call the

Diocese of Biloxi, Office of the Diaconate, (228) 702-2107.

For more on the Permanent Diaconate, see pages 10-13.

Wyrwich named Diocesan Director of

Stewardship and Development


F. Kihneman has announced the hiring of

Dave Wyrwich as full time Director of

Stewardship and Development for the

Diocese of Biloxi, effective August 1.

Wyrwich replaces Deacon Roberto

Jimenez, who is retiring.

Bishop Kihneman thanked Deacon

Jimenez for his good work as Director of

Stewardship and Development.

At the same time, Bishop Kihneman wel-

comed Wyrwich, who he called “a family

man and dedicated Catholic.”






Development, Wyrwich

will lead a team commit-

ted to advancing the

Gospel of Christ and

teachings of the Catholic





gelization, and Disciple-

ship formation.