Etienne to be installed Wednesday as Cheyenne bishop

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By Vince Luecke

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - A Perry County native, who was ordained a priest in 1992 and worked as a pastor in Indianapolis and a director of seminarians before returning to his home county last summer, will be ordained bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne Wednesday.

Bishop-elect Paul D. Etienne, 50, will be ordained in a ceremony Wednesday in the Cheyenne Civic Center, becoming one of the youngest men to lead a United States diocese. The service begins at 3 p.m. MST and will be attended by the new bishop's parents, Paul and Kay Etienne, his siblings and several other friends and relatives from Perry County.

The Rev. Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of Denver, will lead the ordination Mass, which will be attended by the the Rev. Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Also attending will be Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel Buechlein OSB and Evansville Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger, who ordained Etienne a priest.

Etienne was named to lead the Cheyenne diocese Oct. 19, just months after he had become pastor of St. Paul Church in Tell City and St. Mark Church in Anderson Township.

In an e-mail to The News a couple of days later, Etienne said the appointment brings mixed emotions. Honored to be called by the pope to lead Wyoming's Roman Catholics, the bishop-elect said he also feels sorrow at leaving his home state and the congregations he has served for only a few months.

"This appointment as bishop of Cheyenne is, on the one hand, a moment of great joy as I assume the office of bishop, and prepare to embrace a new 'family' in Wyoming," he wrote. "On the other hand, it is a source of sadness as I say farewell to a short-lived experience with the people of my hometown and home parish. The challenge of the life of the priest, as with all Christians who seek to faithfully follow Christ, is to be free to go where he leads."

Etienne has two brothers, Bernie and Zach, who are priests of the diocese of Evansville and a sister, Nicolette, who is a member of the Benedictine Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove.

The bishop-elect also has a brother, Richard, who resides in Newburgh and a sister, Angela Kellems, who lives in Evansville.

Etienne graduated from Tell City High School and attended Bellarmine College in Louisville, Ky. He later managed the Siebert's clothing store in Tell City.

He later graduated from St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., with a bachelor's degree in business administration. In 1986-87 he served with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as assistant coordinator for papal visits to the United States by Pope John Paul II. From 1988-92 he attended the North American College in Rome and received a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

He was ordained in 1992, serving at several parishes in Indianapolis and associate vocation director for the archdiocese of Indianapolis. He received a degree in spiritual theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.