New Bishop Ordained in the Diocese of Jefferson City

On Tuesday, February 6th, Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis ordained Fr. W. Shawn McKnight of Wichita, Kansas as the 4th bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City. During his homily, Archbishop Carlson encouraged McKnight in his call to service, and said that he “will need to be courageous” in his new role as shepherd of the people of Central and Northeast Missouri. His call to serve as bishop and his ordination, Archbishop told him, is “an invitation to walk to the peripheries” to serve the elderly, the poor and the marginalized.

During his first address as bishop following the ordination, McKnight stated, “I proclaim the good news! Jesus Christ is risen!” He conveyed his unsettledness when he received the phone call from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, announcing his appointment. “I knew that either I was in big trouble, or he was going to change the course of my life.” And indeed, that phone call did change the course of his life.

At just 49 years of age, Bishop McKnight is now the youngest bishop in the United States. He comes from a diocese that is rich in vocations to the priesthood. He has a heart for evangelization, ecumenism, and for the permanent diaconate, a topic he has studied in depth, having recently released an entire book on the topic.   

Bishop McKnight closed his opening remarks at the end of Mass by introducing the diocese to the motto that appears on his crest, “Gratias Agimus Domino” – “Let us give thanks to the Lord.” The Diocese of Jefferson City gives thanks to you, Bishop McKnight, for saying, “yes.” And thanks be to God for Bishop John Gaydos’ many years of faithful service to the Diocese of Jefferson City, and to the Missouri Catholic Conference. 

To watch the recording of Bishop McKnight’s installation Mass, click here.