CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - On April 26, Pope Francis announced The Most Reverend Edward M. Rice, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, was named the seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.
On Wednesday, Bishop Rice visited with area priests and other Catholics in a press conference at St. Mary's Church in Cape Girardeau.
While Bishop Rice was greeted by many, he also took time to address concerns with the decline of parishioners.
"Across the board, all the denominations are certainly struggling with a decline in the practice of the faith," Bishop Rice said. "We need people to get engaged in the faith. We have a lot of people that are on the sidelines watching the game. We need to get out people into the game and really live in the faith. And I think that will inspire other people to do the same thing."
Bishop Rice also addressed the importance of the youth in their church in the future.
"To have our young people fully engaged and to really offer a solid program so they can really grow in our faith," Bishop Rice
said. "Our young people. That's such a crucial aspect of our diocese."
The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau has nine regions that include 66 parishes, 18 missions, four chapels, 66 Diocesan Priests, 60 Religious Priests, 23 Diocesan Elementary School and more.
Bishop Rice plans on following in the footsteps of the sixth Bishop of the Diocese The Most Reverend James Johnston who was appointed to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph last year.
Rice has served in many roles in St. Louis since his ordination in January 1987, including Associate Pastor at Our Lady of the Presentation Parish, Director at Cardinal Glennon College Seminary, Pastor at St. John the Baptist and Director of Vocations.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Rice as Auxiliary Bishop in December 2010.