Pope taps MC native as bishop


Pope Francis has appointed Miles City native Monsignor Stephen J. Berg to be a bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo, Colo.

Berg, 62, is the oldest of 10 children of the late Connie and Jeanne Berg. 

He graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1969, earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1873 and a Master of Music from the Eastern New Mexico University in Portales in 1975.

He taught music at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas and worked 14 years in the retail nursery industry as vice president or general manager for Sunbelt Nursery divisions.

He entered the Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas in 1993, where he received a Master of Divinity degree from the Oblate School of Theology in 1999.

Also in 1999, he was ordained to the priesthood by his maternal uncle, Bishop Joseph Charron, now the Bishop Emeritus of Des Moines, Iowa.

Bishop-elect Berg was a parish priest of several churches in Texas, and currently is the diocesan administrator for the Fort Worth, Texas Diocese.

“I am humbled and deeply moved that Pope Francis has appointed me to be the next Bishop of Pueblo,” Berg said in a press release from the Fort Worth Diocese. “I know Colorado to be a beautiful land of beautiful people, and I look forward to serving the faithful of Pueblo as their shepherd in Christ. I eagerly anticipate our future as we grow and build our local church together.”

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila will ordain and install Berg as bishop on Feb. 27 in Pueblo. Archbishop Vigano will represent Pope Francis at the ordination, the press stated. Bishop-elect Berg will replace Fernando Isern as the leader of Catholics in southern Colorado. Isern retired in June because of poor health.

Bishop-elect Berg is the second priest from the diocese named a bishop in two months. On Nov. 19, Monsignor Michael Olson also received the appointment. He will be ordained and installed as the Bishop of Fort Worth on Jan. 29.

“I personally am happy for Msgr. Berg and the Diocese of Pueblo,” Olson said in the release. “His ministry as pastor, vicar general and administrator of the Diocese of Fort Worth during the time of sede vacante (absence of a bishop in the diocese) has prepared him for his new assignment. 

“At heart, Bishop-elect Berg is a good priest, a kind man, a true Christian and a wise leader,” Olson continued. “I will miss him very much, as will all the priests in our Diocese. Yet, we should be consoled that Msgr. Berg is once again doing God’s Will by answering Christ’s call to serve the Church. The Holy Father’s appointment of Msgr. Berg is a statement of affirmation and confidence in the priests of the Diocese of Fort Worth.”