Pope Francis names bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City as new bishop of Saginaw

WASHINGTON, DC—Pope Francis has named the Most Reverend Robert D. Gruss, 63, up until now Bishop of Rapid City, as Bishop of Saginaw, Michigan.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, May 24, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Robert Gruss was born June 25, 1955, in Texarkana, Arkansas. He attended Madison Area Technical College, in Madison, Wisconsin, and Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was a commercial pilot and flight instructor from 1980-1989 before entering seminary. He pursued seminary studies at St. Ambrose University, in Davenport 1989-1990; at North American College, Rome, 1990-1994; and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum, in Rome. He additionally earned a Master of Arts degree in Spiritual Theology at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1994.  In 1999, he completed studies at the Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF) with an emphasis on Spiritual Direction training.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Davenport on July 2, 1994. Pope Benedict named him a monsignor in 2007.

After ordination, Bishop Gruss’s assignments included parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Davenport (1994-1997); parochial vicar, St. Anthony Parish, Knoxville, Iowa; Sacred Heart Parish, Melcher, Iowa and St. Mary Parish, Pella, Iowa (1997-1999); pastor at St. Mary Parish, Pella (1999-2004); Davenport diocesan vocations director (2004-2007); diocesan chancellor (2005-2007); director of the propagation of the faith (2005-2007); director of victim assistance programs for the Diocese of Davenport (2005-2007); vice-rector, North American College, Rome (2007-2010); and rector and pastor, Sacred Heart Cathedral (2010-2011).

Bishop Gruss was named the bishop of Rapid City by Pope Benedict on May 26, 2011. His episcopal ordination took place on July 28, 2011.

Bishop Walter A. Hurley, Bishop Emeritus of Grand Rapids, has been the Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Saginaw since October 17, 2018.

The Diocese of Saginaw is comprised of 6,955 square miles and includes 708,837 people, of whom 153,260,91.427 or 12.9 percent, are Catholic.