ST. CLOUD - Now that the Catholic Church has selected a new Pope, Bishop John Kinney of the St. Cloud Diocese has resumed planning for his retirement.

Kinney sent in his letter of resignation when he turned 75 years old last June, which is required by the church.  Once Pope Francis selects the new Bishop, Kinney says he'll move to the priest retirement home in Sauk Rapids.  But, Kinney says he plans to stay busy.

Bishop John Kinney, St. Cloud Diocese
Bishop John Kinney, St. Cloud Diocese

Kinney was appointed the Ninth Bishop of St. Cloud in May of 1995 by Pope John Paul II.

Kinney says he was both grace filled and stunned by the selection of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the new Pope.  Kinney says he's also very excited and encouraged by the naming of Pope Francis.

Kinney says he does not know Pope Francis, who is actually a year older than Kinney.

A Spanish speaking Pope does not come as a surprise to Kinney.  Kinney says Latin America is a vibrant place for the Catholic Church.  He says more Catholic people live in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere.  Which he says is both a huge opportunity and a huge challenge.  Kinney says right here in the St. Cloud Diocese the Latino population is excited for Pope Francis.

Kinney says another big challenge facing the Catholic Church is the shortage of priests.

John Kinney was born in Oelwein, Iowa.  He attended DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis.  He graduated from the St. Paul Seminary in 1963.  Before coming to St. Cloud, he also spent time at the Bishop of Bismark, North Dakota.

The St. Cloud Diocese covers 16 counties in Central Minnesota, and has about 138,000 members.  The Diocese of St. Cloud was founded on September 22nd, 1889.

Listen to the full interview with Bishop John Kinney of the St. Cloud Catholic Diocese:

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