by Elise Harris
The Vatican announced Tuesday that Pope Francis has named Msgr. Robert Milner Coerver, a parish priest from the Diocese of Dallas, as the new bishop-elect for Lubbock, Texas.
Msgr. Coerver, pastor of St. Rita Parish in Dallas, will be taking over for Bishop Plácido Rodríguez, who has been leading the diocese since 1994, but who will now retire after having reached the normal age limit of 75.
Born June 6, 1954, in Dallas, Msgr. Coerver grew up as part of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish before beginning his studies in philosophy at Dallas’ Holy Trinity Seminary.
He was then sent to the Pontifical North American College in Rome to study theology, where he was also enrolled in courses at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Pontifical Gregorian University.
The bishop-elect was ordained a priest June 27, 1980, for the diocese of Dallas, and in 1981 received a Licentiate in Spiritual Theology from the Gregorian University.
Later, in 1990, he obtained a Masters’ degree in Counseling and Guidance from Texas A & M University – Commerce, formerly known as East Texas State University.
After his ordination, Msgr. Coerver served as assistant pastor at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Dallas as well as St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Plano until 1985.
For the next 11 years he served as a spiritual director at Holy Trinity Seminary on the campus of the University of Dallas. In 1996 he moved fulltime into diocesan ministry, serving as a spirituality consultant for various programs in the diocese.
In July 1997, he was appointed Director of the Office of Sacramental Life for the diocese, and in 2003 was named Director of Priestly Life and Ministry. He was given the title “Chaplain to His Holiness” by St. John Paul II in 2004, allowing him to be addressed as “Monsignor,” rather than “Father.”
On March 16, 2005, Msgr. Coerver was named as pastoral administrator of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Rockwall, Texas. One year later he was named pastor of the parish, where he served until 2010, when he was appointed to his current position as pastor of St. Rita Parish in Dallas.
Since 2008, Msgr. Coerver has also served as a member and Chairman of the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Dallas.
Details on the day and time of his episcopal ordination have yet to be announced.