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Pope Francis appoints new bishop at La Crosse Diocese, as Callahan announcers retirement



The La Crosse Diocese is getting a new bishop, by way of Detroit.

On Tuesday, Pope Francis announced the retirement of Bishop William Callahan and appointed Gerard Battersby to become the 11th bishop of the diocese.

The 63-year-old Battersby was introduced to the La Crosse community at a morning news conference.

Retiring Bishop William Callahan (left) listens as successor Gerard Battersby speaks at a La Crosse news conference on Tuesday

Callahan is stepping down, reportedly for health reasons, after 14 years as leader of the La Crosse Diocese.

At 73, he is two years short of the customary retirement age for bishops and other Catholic church leaders.

Battersby has been an auxiliary bishop in the Detroit area for seven years. During Tuesday’s news conference, the new bishop said that he didn’t know the post in La Crosse was open, but he’s glad that it was.

A special mass to install Battersby as bishop will be held May 20 at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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