One of the youngest bishops in country ordained in Jefferson City

Posted on 6 February 2018 at 5:28pm

JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's Catholic Diocese welcomed a new bishop Tuesday afternoon, marking the first new bishop in 20 years. 

Bishop William Shawn McKnight will now lead more than 80,000 Catholics and 90 parishes or churches that reside in mid-Missouri and its surrounding counties. Every parish and Catholic school in the diocese's 38-county range received an invitation to the ceremony.

"It's a big moment whenever I think you get a new change in leadership." said Deacon Dan Joyce, the communications director for the Diocese of Jefferson City.  "It gives you a chance to reassess; to see what you're doing - what you can do better."

Pope Francis appointed McKnight in November. McKnight is the fourth bishop to be ordained since the founding of the diocese in 1956. 

More than 25 bishops from 10 different states, representing 19 U.S. dioceses, attended his installation.

McKnight succeeds Bishop John R. Gaydos, 74, who has held the position since 1997. Gaydos said his resignation was due to health reasons.

McKnight will take over Gaydos’ position as one of the youngest bishops in the United States.

"I think for young people, they see that young face and they say 'hey this gives us an opportunity to work with someone who maybe is more aware,'" Joyce said.

After graduating from the University of Dallas with a biochemistry degree in 1990, McKnight attended the Pontifical College Josephinum Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated with a Master of Arts in Theology and a Master of Divinity degrees. 

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Wichita in 1994. He is the first Jefferson City bishop to be appointed from outside of Missouri.

The Mass of Ordination and installation took place at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Jefferson City.