The Pontifical North American College

January 15, 2015

Former Director of Spiritual Formation Named Bishop

With great joy the Pontifical North American College community would like to recognize and congratulate Bishop-elect Very Rev. Joseph G. Hanefeldt, an alumnus of the College (’84) and formerly the College’s Director of Spiritual Formation, whom Pope Francis named as the new bishop of the Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska, on January 14th, 2015. Bishop-elect Hanefeldt will succeed Most. Rev William J. Dendinger, the current bishop of Grand Island, who reached the retirement age for bishops last year.

Born in 1958, Bishop-elect Hanefeldt grew up on a family farm near Creighton, Nebraska. He is an alumnus of Saint Ludger Elementary School and Creighton Community High School. Bishop-elect Hanefeldt completed his college seminary formation and philosophy studies in 1980 at St. John Vianney College Seminary, which is on the campus of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

From 1980 until 1984, Bishop-elect Hanefeldt was in seminary formation at the Pontifical North American College. He earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1983, and studied Sacramental Theology for a year at the Pontifical Sant’Anselmo University.

After Bishop-elect Hanefeldt’s ordination to the priesthood on July 14th, 1984, he served in the Archdiocese of Omaha in various roles of pastoral leadership, including: associate pastor at Saint Mary Parish in West Point, Nebraska; associate pastor at Saint Joan of Arc Parish in Omaha, Nebraska; pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Omaha, Nebraska; pastor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha, Nebraska; and, most recently, pastor of Christ the King Parish in Omaha, Nebraska. He also has served in the Archdiocese of Omaha as spiritual director for the Teens Encounter Christ program and for the Cursillo Movement, as well as visiting spiritual director at the Institute for Priestly Formation.

Bishop-elect Hanefeldt was also a faculty member at the Pontifical North American College from 2007 to 2012. He began as a full-time Spiritual Director, and then served as Director of Spiritual Formation at the College from 2009 until he returned to his home Archdiocese of Omaha in 2012.

Please remember Bishop-elect Hanefeldt in your prayers as he takes on this new role as pastor and Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska.

Congratulations, Bishop-elect Hanefeldt!