Bishop-Elect, Fr. Austin Anthony Vetter

October 8, 2019:

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed Father Austin Anthony Vetter as the eleventh Bishop of Helena. Mass for his ordination as a bishop and installation as Bishop of Helena will take place at the Cathedral of St. Helena on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.

Austin Anthony Vetter was born in Linton, N.D., on September 13, 1967, to August and Loretta Vetter. The youngest of 12 children, he was raised on a farm and educated in the Linton Public School System. After graduation, he attended North Dakota State University and Cardinal Muench Seminary in Fargo, N.D. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy, he studied at the Pontifical North American College and the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bismarck by Bishop John F. Kinney at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck, N.D., on June 29, 1993.

Father Vetter’s first assignment was serving as Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. Father Vetter was a religion instructor at St. Mary’s Central High School in Bismarck from 1994 to 1999. In North Dakota, he served as pastor of St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Center, St. Patrick’s Church in Dickinson, and St. Leo the Great in Minot.

From 2004 to 2007, Father Vetter was an adjunct faculty member for the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., where he taught The Spirituality of the Diocesan Priest. Father Vetter has held various roles in the Diocese of Bismarck, including serving on the Presbyteral Council, Priest Personnel Board, Vicar for the Permanent Diaconate, Master of Ceremonies to the Bishop, and Director of Continuing Education of the Clergy.

Father Vetter served as Director of Spiritual Formation at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy, from July 2012 through June 2018. He currently serves as Rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and is a Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Light of Christ Catholic Schools in Bismarck, N.D.

Bishop-Elect Fr. Austin A. Vetter at the Cathedral of St. Helena
Bishop-Elect Vetter celebrating noon Mass at the Cathedral of St. Helena during his visit to the diocese on Oct. 8, 2019

Bishop-Elect Vetter made the 9-hour drive from Bismarck to Helena to be present for the announcement of his appointment and to begin preparing to lead the diocese and live here.

During an October 8th press conference, Msgr. Kevin O’Neil, Rector at the Cathedral of St. Helena and Diocesan Administrator, introduced the Bishop-Elect, saying;

“I am delighted beyond words, and with great praise to the Lord, and gratitude to Our Lady, that Pope Francis has selected Bishop-Elect Vetter to be with us. His faith and his generosity are there on record. I can’t think of better credentials for a shepherd than to be a person of invitation, a person willing to walk beside, a person who looks forward with a clear understanding of from whence he has come and with a desire to better know love and to serve the lord.”

Bishop-Elect Vetter then joined Dr. John Cech, Carroll College’s President, for a tour of our diocesan college followed by celebrating noon Mass at the Cathedral of St. Helena where many attended to welcome him including the students and teachers from Helena’s St. Andrew school.

Please hold Bishop-Elect Vetter, his family and parishioners in your prayers during this time of transition as we joyfully welcome him and look forward to receiving him as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Helena.