By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
The State of South Dakota gave a sendoff to Bishop Robert Gruss that he won’t likely forget: a proclamation declaring July 17, 2019, “Bishop Robert D. Gruss Day.”
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem made the proclamation to honor the prelate who was a priest of the Diocese of Davenport before being ordained and installed as Bishop of the Rapid City Diocese on July 28, 2011. In May, Pope Francis named Bishop Gruss to lead the Diocese of Saginaw, Mich., as its bishop. His installation Mass is scheduled for July 26.
The proclamation states that Bishop Gruss “served as the chief shepherd of western South Dakota, teaching the Gospel, deepening the love of Christ and his teachings in the lives of the people, and sharing in their joys and sorrows ….”
Furthermore, he “established the Veritatis Splendor Institute to train catechists; initiated an envisioning process to set a clearly defined course for ministry in the diocese culminating in a written Priority Plan and a Pastoral Letter; embarked on the opening of the Cause for the Canonization of Nicholas Black Elk; announced a diocesan Year of the Eucharist; established Perpetual Adoration at the Cathedral,” and more.
Predecessors of Bishop Gruss also had a day named in their honor, so the proclamation may not have come as a complete surprise. He shared his reaction with The Catholic Messenger:
“I was kind of embarrassed that Governor (Kristi) Noem singled me out with this proclamation. All the great accomplishments sited in the proclamation were the result of team work with the chancery staff and the support of the people in Western South Dakota. But it was a nice gesture,” Bishop Gruss said.
Earlier this month he marked his 25th anniversary as a priest, having been ordained July 2, 1994, by Bishop William Franklin at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. He received the title of Monsignor in 2007. During his last assignment for the Davenport Diocese, he served as the cathedral’s pastor and rector before being named to lead the Diocese of Rapid City.