As most are now aware, on November 24, Pope Francis appointed Milwaukee Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hying to shepherd the Diocese of Gary, Indiana. A Milwaukee native, he recently took a little time to answer some questions from Cream City Catholic about the path ahead.
What has your life been like since Pope Francis tapped you to lead the Diocese of Gary?
Life has been busy since my appointment to Gary was announced. The highlights include a press conference and meeting with the priests and employees of Gary, packing and moving all my stuff, farewell events here in Milwaukee, getting ready for Christmas, planning the installation and trying to pray in the middle of all of it.
What particular challenges and opportunities await you there?
Like most dioceses, Gary is a combination of urban, suburban and rural communities. There is a great racial and economic diversity there. Like all dioceses, we can use more priests, religious and lay people to be involved in the Church. The opportunity is to serve and spend myself with this beautiful and lively local Church. I look forward to knowing and loving the people.
How have your initial encounters with the priests and faithful of Gary gone?
My initial encounters with the priests and faithful of Gary have been joyous and welcoming. People could not be kinder or more eager to help. I know I will come to love them very quickly.
Do you have any particular objectives you hope to focus on as Bishop of Gary?
Like any bishop, my objective would be to increase the holiness and life of the Church, evangelize, increase the number of priests and leaders, and support the faithful in their vocation. I want to particularly be present to the city of Gary, especially those living in poverty.
Fortunately, you’ll be a relatively short distance from your hometown (only about three hours or so by car) so can we expect to see you back in Milwaukee from time to time?
I will certainly come back to visit Milwaukee—my family and many friends are here and it will be good to see them in the future and visit my old haunts.
What are some things you’ll miss most about living in Milwaukee?
I will miss everything about Milwaukee—my family and friends, the people, the bishops and priests, the churches and the seminary, the lakefront, the restaurants, George Webb’s, the comfort I have with everything and everybody. But I also look forward to everything that awaits me. It will be a great adventure!