By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — Bishop-designate Robert Gruss made his profession of faith and oath of fidelity in preparation to become bishop of the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D. Both of these pledges are required when assuming an office in the name of the Church.
During the bilingual Mass at which Bishop Martin Amos presided on July 17 in Sacred Heart Cathedral, the bishop-designate also reflected on his 53 weeks with the cathedral parish as its pastor and rector.
He told the crowd that when he arrived at the cathedral last summer he intended to stay several years. “But 10 months into our ‘program’ it changed with one phone call.” That call was from a Vatican representative asking him to become a bishop.
Bishop-designate Gruss said when he moved to Davenport 30 years ago to fly airplanes and do traffic reports for a local radio station his life’s journey was on a different track. It changed when he discerned a vocation to the priesthood and was ordained in 1994. His journey changed course again when he was asked to serve at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and yet again when he was asked to serve as bishop. “We never know what our journey will be like. I could never have written this script.”
He thanked the Sacred Heart community for all that its members have done for and with him. “The past year has been a tremendous epiphany.”
Now he’s trying to grasp the magnitude of this next leg of the journey.
“A shepherd leaving to tend another flock – that’s a little bigger. It’s 43,000 square miles versus a half-square block,” he laughed. “The Lord is abounding in kindness.”
Another shepherd is arriving to serve as Sacred Heart’s pastor and rector: Father Rich Adam. “He will get to know his flock and love his flock over time. I hope he can stay more than a year – but that’s up to the Lord,” Bishop-designate Gruss said as the congregation laughed.
“Great things will happen after my departure here at Sacred Heart. Seeds have been planted.”
As he began his conclusion, Bishop-designate Gruss quoted Nobel Prize winner Francois Mauriac’s “We are molded and remolded by those who have loved us. And although that love may pass, we remain nonetheless their work. No love, no friendship can ever cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark upon it forever.” The bishop-designate added, “You have left your wonderful mark upon me.”
He asked for forgiveness of those he may have offended during his brief stay. He asked for continued prayers, especially for the people of the Diocese of Rapid City, which is “a very poor mission diocese. There is a lot of suffering. They can use your prayers.”
Bishop Gruss to celebrate Mass at cathedral
Bishop Robert Gruss will celebrate Mass for the people of the Diocese of Davenport on Sept. 4 at 3 p.m. in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Davenport.
The Mass will be held five-and-a-half weeks after he is ordained bishop of the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D.
Bishop-designate Gruss currently serves as rector and pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral, but will be relieved of that assignment July 21 because the Holy Father appointed him bishop of the Rapid City Diocese. His ordination to the episcopacy will be July 28 in Rapid City.
It was his desire after becoming a bishop to celebrate a Mass in the Davenport Diocese, where he has served most of his 17 years of priesthood and where he was ordained a priest, Bishop Martin Amos said.
Bishop-designate Gruss, 56, was ordained to the priesthood on July 2, 1994, by Bishop William Franklin at Sacred Heart Cathedral. In the Davenport Diocese, Bishop-designate Gruss has served as a parochial vicar, pastor, vocations director, chancellor, Propagation of the Faith director, Victim Assistance Program director and rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral. He also served as vice rector of seminary life and director of human formation for the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was awarded the Chaplain of His Holiness, with the title “Monsignor” in August 2007.
Video of Bishop-designate Gruss making his oath http://www.catholicmessenger.org/articles/2011/07/20/video/doc4e27066d19401583630117.txt