Bishop Johnston celebrates anniversary Mass at Holy Ghost

Bill Brewer Diocese of Knoxville, News

Bishop James Vann Johnston Jr. returned home June 30.

The seven-year bishop of Springfield–Cape Girardeau, Mo., celebrated Mass at Holy Ghost Parish in Knoxville to mark his 25th anniversary in the priesthood.

Holy Ghost is Bishop Johnston’s home in many ways. He was baptized and confirmed there and later served as an associate pastor at the North Knoxville church. Bishop Johnston also is a former chancellor for the Diocese of Knoxville and moderator of the curia.

Bishop Johnston was the first transitional deacon ordained for the Diocese of Knoxville and the second priest ordained. He entered the priesthood June 9, 1990, at Holy Ghost.

Holy Ghost was filled for Bishop Johnston’s anniversary Mass, with his family, priest friends, and numerous parishioners on hand for the celebration, which continued at a reception downstairs in Father Henkel Hall far into the evening.

Bishop Richard F. Stika, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Bishop David P. Talley—auxiliary bishop of Atlanta and a seminary friend of Bishop Johnston—former longtime Holy Ghost pastor Monsignor Xavier Mankel, current Holy Ghost pastor and longtime Bishop Johnston friend Father John Dowling, and more than a dozen priests from around the diocese were in attendance at the anniversary Mass. The Mass was emceed by Father John Orr, associate pastor of Holy Ghost. Deacon Sean Smith, who succeeded Bishop Johnston as chancellor for the diocese, served as deacon of the Word.

Readers for the Mass were two of Bishop Johnston’s nieces, Anna and Mary Iverson. Bishop Johnston’s sisters, Amy Iverson and Beth Schmitt, presented a photo of Bishop Johnston that will hang at his alma mater, Knoxville Catholic High School.

Bishop Johnston also celebrated his anniversary with Masses at the two cathedrals in his diocese: June 8 at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Annunciation in Cape Girardeau and June 9 at the Cathedral of St. Agnes in Springfield.