Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Joseph Hanefeldt, 56, pastor of Christ the King Parish in Omaha, Nebraska, bishop of Grand Island, Nebraska, and accepted the resignation of Bishop William J. Dendinger, 75, from pastoral governance of the diocese.
The appointment was publicized in Washington today by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Joseph G. Hanefeldt was born April 25, 1958, in Creighton, Nebraska. He attended St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1976-1980, and pursued his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome from 1980-1984. He studied sacramental theology at the University of St. Anselm in Rome from 1983-1984. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha on July 14, 1984.
From 2007-2009, he was spiritual director of the Pontifical North American College in Rome. From 2009-2012, he served as director of the spiritual formation program at the Pontifical North American College. In December 2010, Pope Benedict XVI named him a Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Monsignor. He has served as pastor of Christ the King Parish in Omaha since 2012.
William J. Dendinger was born in 1939 and ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1965. Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Grand Island in 2004.
The Diocese of Grand Island comprises 40,000 square miles in the State of Nebraska and has a total population of 307,587 people, of which 45,744, or 15 percent, are Catholic.