Austin vicar general, former A&M pastor, named sixth bishop of San Angelo

NTC Staff

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Pope Francis has named Msgr. Michael J. Sis, vicar general of the Diocese of Austin, Texas, as bishop of San Angelo, Texas. The appointment was announced Dec. 12. Bishop-designate Sis is pictured in an undated handout photo. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Austin)

Editor’s note: This story is adapted from press releases from the Austin and San Angelo dioceses and from St. Mary’s Student Center’s “Aggie Catholic” blog.

SAN ANGELO — Pope Francis has named Monsignor Michael Sis, currently vicar general of the Diocese of Austin, to succeed Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer as bishop of San Angelo. He will be ordained and installed as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of San Angelo Jan. 27.

Bishop-elect Sis was born Jan. 9, 1960, in Mount Holly, New Jersey, to Raymond and Janice Sis. The fourth of five children, Msgr. Sis grew up in Bryan.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Gregorian University, and a licentiate in moral theology from the Academia Alfonsiana, Pontifical Lateran University, Rome.

He was ordained for the Austin diocese on July 19, 1986, by Bishop John McCarthy. Assignments after ordination included associate pastor of Christo Rey Church in Austin 1986-88; associate pastor of St. Mary’s Student Center at Texas A&M University in College Station in 1989, and again in 1992; associate pastor of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Austin 1990-92; pastor of St. Mary’s Student Center 1993-2006; Austin diocesan vocations director 2006-09; pastor of St. Thomas More Church in Austin 2009-10, and vicar general since 2010.

While pastor of St. Mary’s Student Center, he oversaw an unprecedented capital campaign to build a new student center, chapel, and activity center, and led the parish as it became one of the most active Catholic campus student centers in the country, according the “Aggie Catholic” blog, maintained by the center’s campus minister Marcel LeJeune.

“Known for being detailed-oriented and an extremely dedicated worker, Fr. Mike will frequently answer emails late at night and sometimes into the early morning hours,” LeJeune said in his blog. “Many consider him to be a model priest, which would explain why so many Aggies become priests and religious (135-plus) and we average around 10 students entering formation or seminary annually. The big wave started when he was pastor.”

At a Dec. 12 press conference held at the San Angelo Diocesan Pastoral Center, Bishop-Elect Sis discussed Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Evangelli Guadium, and its challenge to every diocese to go through a process of “self-renewal through discernment, purification, and reform. His hope is that … we’ll go through some kind of pastoral conversion with a missionary spirit of going forth to the outskirts of our territory preaching Jesus Christ. That is the exact spirit that has fueled 28-and-a-half years of ministry of Bishop Michael Pfeifer and together we hope to continue in that same spirit.

“As a diocese we will discern how best to respond to that exhortation of Pope Francis in our circumstances here in San Angelo. I look forward to coming to serve you here in our diocese. I will love you and I will walk with you in our pilgrimage of faith,” he said.

The San Angelo Diocese includes 37,433 square miles across 29 counties in Texas. It has a population of 859,701 people, with 77,230, or nine percent of them, Catholic. Bishop Pfeifer has served as bishop of San Angelo for 27 years and submitted his resignation on his 75th birthday in May 2012.

Bp-elect-Sis-Button.jpgSAN ANGELO — Pope Francis has named Monsignor Michael Sis, currently vicar general of the Diocese of Austin, to succeed Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer as bishop of San Angelo. He will be ordained and installed as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of San Angelo Jan. 27. Bishop-elect Sis was born Jan. 9, 1960, in Mount Holly, New Jersey, to Raymond and Janice Sis. The fourth of five children, Msgr. Sis grew up in Bryan.

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