Douglas County's Catholic diocese has new bishop

Most Rev. James Golka will lead area that includes Douglas County

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The Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, which includes Douglas County, has welcomed a new bishop.

The Most Rev. James Golka, previously a priest of the Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska, was ordained June 29.

Golka, the fourth of 10 children, graduated from Creighton University in 1989 with degrees in philosophy and theology. He also received a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degree in Sacramental Theology from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

During a reception June 30, Golka gave a homily, speaking to the congregation at St. Mary’s Cathedral and comparing his new position to a marriage.

“I would say to you, the people of Colorado Springs, I promise to be faithful to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life,” he said.

Golka, 54, was named as the third bishop of Colorado Springs by Pope Francis.

“I don’t have any agenda that I know of … when people ask what’s your mission or your agenda I just think together we discern what’s the mission of God for the people of Colorado Springs,” Golka said during an April press conference that announced his selection.

During the April 30 press conference, Golka spoke about his interest in faith from a young age.

“When you become fascinated by Jesus you can’t help but fall in love with him and that has changed everything for me. So I just invite you to be fascinated by the Lord,” he said.

When Bishop Michael Sheridan, who previously held the post, turned 75 in March 2020 he submitted his resignation to Pope Francis. 

“Bishop-elect Golka has already shown himself to be not only a skilled administrator, but also a man of prayer,” said Bishop Sheridan, according to a news release. “I believe that he will serve the people of this diocese very well.”

Golka was initially shocked by the news and thought it was a joke when he first got the call, he said during the press conference.

“But the reason I said yes is because deep inside me there’s a place where the Lord tells me ‘trust me and it’s going to be OK’ and so I trust the Lord fully,” he said.

During portions of his homily and the press conference, Golka also spoke in Spanish.

The diocese, formed in 1984, serves 10 counties, including El Paso, Elbert, Teller, Lincoln, Kit Carson, Lake, Chaffee, Cheyenne and Park. There are about 175,000 Catholics and 39 parishes in the diocese.

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