NEW ULM, Minn. — The Most Rev. John M. LeVoir has resigned as bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm due to health reasons, the diocese announced.
Pope Francis accepted his resignation, effective Thursday, Aug. 6.
Bishop LeVoir, 74, has served as the bishop of New Ulm since his appointment on July 14, 2008. A typical retirement age for a bishop is 75, according to the news release from the diocese.
Since early July, LeVoir has been undergoing a physical and psychological assessment at Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Alma, Michigan, operated by the Religious Sisters of Mercy. He will remain in Alma until early September to undertake a therapy plan.
LeVoir said in the news release that the last years have been very challenging for the diocese and the life of the Church, but that it has been a privilege to have served the faithful. He called it both a great honor and enriching experience to come to know the people of the diocese “and their love for Jesus Christ, their willingness to share their Catholic faith, and their concern for the less fortunate.”
The search for a replacement will begin immediately, a process run primarily by the Vatican, according to the diocese's announcement. The College of Consultors will appoint a diocesan administrator until a new bishop is appointed. The administrator will be elected from the active priests of the diocese and must be at least 35 years of age.
A native of Minneapolis, LeVoir was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1981. He was serving as pastor at the Church of St. Michael and the Church of St. Mary in Stillwater, Minn., when Pope Benedict XVI appointed him on July 14, 2008, as the fourth bishop of New Ulm.
Established on Nov. 18, 1957, the Diocese of New Ulm consists of 15 counties in south and west central Minnesota: Big Stone, Brown, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Nicollet, Redwood, Renville, Sibley, Swift and Yellow Medicine, a total of 9,863 square miles. It encompasses nearly 50,933 Catholics in 61 parishes served by 35 assigned priests and 19 permanent deacons. There are 13 Catholic elementary schools and three Catholic high schools.