Pope Francis appoints new bishop of Helena

Posted at 10:10 AM, Oct 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-08 12:17:15-04

After more than a year without a bishop, the Diocese of Helena announced Father Austin Anthony Vetter was appointed by Pope Francis as the 11th Bishop of Helena.

According to a press release, Fr. Vetter currently serves as Rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck, N.D.

Fr. Vetter is the successor to Helena Bishop George Thomas, who was chosen by Pope Francis to become the bishop of Las Vegas in 2018.

The diocese reports Fr. Vetter received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and studied at the Pontifical North American College and the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bismarck at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck in 1993.

In Thomas’s absence, Monsignor Kevin O’Neill took over administrative duties for the diocese. During that time, O’Neill had to balance his pastoral and administrative duties.

An ordination mass has been scheduled at the Cathedral of St. Helena on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

With the appointment of Fr. Vetter, there are now just four bishop vacancies and two archbishop vacancies nationwide.