Then-Msgr. Jerome Feudjio, vicar general and chancellor of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, speaks at the Sept. 8, 2020 ordination Mass for Father Andrew Lesko. By CS PHOTO/ANDREW BIRAJ)
Longtime priest, pastor and administrator of the Virgin Islands Catholic Church, Jerome Feudjio, was named the sixth bishop of the Catholic Diocese in the Virgin Islands by Pope Francis on Tuesday. Feudjio has served more than three decades in the Catholic Church primarily at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral on St. Thomas.
Feudjio's elevation follows the 2020 retirement of Bishop Herbert Bevard, who retired due to increasing health challenges.
"Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Herbert A. Bevard, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands. At the same time, he has appointed the Metropolitan Archbishop, Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory of Washington as the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese," read a statement issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in September 2020.
Below, a biography of Bishop-elect Feudjio, as provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Monsignor Feudjio was born September 30, 1955 in Fonakeukeu, Dschang, Cameroon. He graduated from St. Albert Catholic School in Dschang in 1967 and attended St. John College of the Christian Brothers of Quebec in Mbanga, Cameroon (1968-1972) and received a degree in Bookkeeping (1972). He was postulant for the religious order, the Congregation of the Fathers of the Sacred Heart (SCJ) in 1972 and attended Saint Apostles Seminary of the Fathers of the Sacred Heart in Otelé, Cameroon (1972-1975), and the Major Seminary of Nkolbison in Yaoundé, Cameroon (1975-1979).
In 1980, while he was at the Sacred Heart Novitiate, Monsignor Feudjio travelled to the United States and he met in Washington then-Father Seán O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap. who invited him to stay at San Francisco House, run by the Spanish Catholic Center of the Archdiocese of Washington. He attended Oblate College which was then part of the Washington Theological Consortium, where he completed his studies in Philosophy and Theology for the priesthood. In 1987, he joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and made his temporary religious profession. He enrolled in the Administration of Justice Program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where he completed his graduate program with an internship at a local transitional house that helped former inmates re-adjust to society.
Following the appointment of Bishop O’Malley to the Diocese of Saint Thomas (1984-1992), Monsignor Feudjio was invited to work as a campus minister at Saints Peter & Paul School in 1988. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Saint Thomas on September 29, 1990. In 2002, he was named by Pope John Paul II a Chaplain of His Holiness, a recognition that carried the honorary title of Monsignor. In 2004, Monsignor Feudjio returned to Southern Illinois University to pursue graduate studies in Rehabilitation Administration at the request of Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., who was bishop of Saint Thomas from 1999-2007.
Monsignor Feudjio’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral and Saint Anne Chapel (1990-1997); French and religion teacher (1992-1997) and assistant principal at Saints Peter and Paul School (1995-1997); diocesan finance officer (1996-2004); director of vocations (1996-2020); administrator (1997-2000) and rector (2000-2001) of Saints Peter & Paul Cathedral; vicar for clergy and religious (2001-present). Father Feudjio also served as chancellor for the Diocese of Saint Thomas (2002-2004); pastor of Holy Family Parish (2004-2008). He has been rector and vicar general of the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral since 2008.
Bishop-elect Feudjio’s pastoral ministry also includes assignments such as diocesan consultor, member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities, member of Diocesan Finance Committee, moderator of the curia, and vicar for communications.
The Diocese of Saint Thomas is comprised of the islands of Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, Saint John, and Water Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and has a total population of 110,000 of which 30,000 are Catholic.