Lander, WY – In a surprise announcement today Pope Francis announced the splitting off of a small town in Wyoming home to 7,800 people from the Diocese of Cheyenne to become instead its own bishopric. No reason was given by the Pope for this surprise decision, which was proclaimed during his daily Angelus address as simply a matter of fact, but locals in the affected town of Lander are stunned and a little worried.
“Us, just us?” questions Fr. Chanders, chaplain at local Wyoming Catholic College. “Maybe Lander is a bit bigger than Vatican City, but it just seems a bit random.” Currently there are three priests, one deacon, and one sort of deacon in the area of this soon to be created diocese, whose boundaries were revealed in an official Vatican press release today. It’s also unclear at this moment who the bishop will be, though WCC sophomore Jacob Zepp comes with strong credentials and is quite interested in applying for the bishopric. However, Bishop Ricken formerly of Cheyenne, WY and now in Wisconsin, is rumored to be under consideration according to an IIT source in the Vatican and it would be “appropriate” according to local sources in Lander for the city’s own Fr. Kord to be offered the position as to assuage his fear for salvation as from being a parish priest.
One local resident says this is just a continuation of the radical changes that they’ve noticed at Holy Rosary Catholic Church over the past decade such as “some weird sweet and smoky smell” in the church on Sundays and a bunch of well-dressed young adults always in or around the church at all hours of the day every day. “Where’d they come from?” he wonders, “Is the Pope catering to them? Why isn’t he giving us the Zoo Cathedrals and Pop-Rap Masses we’ve wanted?”
But the idea does appeal to some, even in its unexpectedness and “weirdness”. “We should get a bit more visibility with this church decision as long as our liturgical precedents are followed,” Wyoming Catholic College executive vice president Saul H. Ciwoknot tell us. Whether this means the bishop of the new diocese will also be a school chaplain or do Masses at least for the school is not yet known to Ciwoknot, but he’s “excited for the chance to bring greater recognition to the school.”
Further details will come out by July 1, 2020, the date set by Pope Francis for the full split-off of Lander from the Diocese of Cheyenne. Several Catholic news agencies including LifeSiteNews and ourselves at IIT have put out a request for more information as to the reasons for the split off from Lander