Father Vetter to be named Bishop of the Diocese of Helena, Mont.

Father Austin Vetter has been appointed by Pope Francis as the Bishop of the Diocese of Helena, the Catholic diocese for western Montana, according to a press release from the Bismarck Catholic Diocese

Father Vetter was formerly the priest at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Minot. Prior to that, he served as parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. He was a religion instructor at St. Mary’s Central High School in Bismarck from 1994-99. He then served as pastor of St. Martin’s in Center and St. Patrick’s in Dickinson before he served at St. Leo’s in Minot.

Father Vetter has held various roles in the Diocese of Bismarck including serving on the presbyteral council, priests’ personnel board, vicar for the permanent diaconate, master of ceremonies to the bishop and director of continuing education for clergy.

Vetter served as director of Spiritual Formation at the Pontifical North American College in Rome from July 2012 through June 2018. Prior to being named Bishop of the Diocese of Helena, he served as rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and vice chairman of the board of directors of Light of Christ Catholic Schools in Bismarck.

Bishop-elect Vetter will be ordained and installed as the Bishop of Helena on Nov. 20 at the Cathedral of St. Helena. He takes over for Bishop George Thomas, who was appointed as the bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas in February 2018.

Vetter is the second Diocese of Bismarck priest to be named bishop and the first native of North Dakota. The other was Sylvester Treinen, originally from Minnesota, who was ordained a priest of the Bismarck Diocese in 1946 and served there until being named Bishop of Boise, Idaho in 1962.

Vetter is a native of Linton. He graduated from Linton High School and attended North Dakota State University in Fargo and Cardinal Muench Seminary in Fargo. He received a bachelor of arts in philosophy and then went on to study at the Pontifical North American College and the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bismarck by Bishop John F. Kinney at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck on June 29, 1993.


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