Pope Francis has named Franciscan Father Fernand Cheri III, 62, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Bishop-elect Cheri is a member of the Sacred Heart Province of the Order of Friars Minor and currently serves as director of campus ministry at Quincy University in Illinois.
The appointment was publicized today by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Fernand Cheri III was born January 28, 1952, in New Orleans. He studied at Notre Dame University, New Orleans, where he received a master’s of divinity in 1978, and at the Institute for Black Catholic Ministry at Xavier University, New Orleans. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans on May 20, 1978.
As a priest of the archdiocese, he served as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes, New Orleans, and St. Joseph the Worker, Marrero, Louisiana, 1978-1984; pastor of St. Joseph the Worker, 1984-1985; pastor of St. Francis de Sales, New Orleans, 1985-1990; and administrator of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, New Orleans, 1990-1991.
In 1992, he entered the novitiate for the Order of Friars Minor, Sacred Heart Province, and made solemn profession in 1994. As a Franciscan, his assignments have included chaplain of Hales Franciscan High School, Chicago, 1994-1996; and pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Nashville, Tennessee, 1996-2002. He was a member of the provincial council for the Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart from 1999-2002.
From 2002-2007, he was assigned to St. Benedict the Black Friary in East St. Louis, Illinois, and taught high school in East St. Louis. He pursued continuing education from 2007-2008, and served as director of the Office of Friar Life in East St. Louis from 2008-2009, and as associate director of campus ministry at Xavier University, New Orleans, 2010-2011. Since 2011, he has served as director of campus ministry at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois, and as vicar of the Holy Cross Friary.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans comprises 4,208 square miles in the state of Louisiana and has a total population of 1,252,044 people, of which 500,818, or 40%, are Catholic. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond has headed the archdiocese since 2009. Its other auxiliary, Bishop Dominic Carmon, SVD, retired in 2006.