Our Bishops
Bishop's Office
Most Reverend John F. Doerfler
1004 Harbor Hills Dr., Marquette, MI 49855 ~ (906) 227-9115; 1-800-562-9745, ext. 115
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Photograph of Bishop John Doerfler

Most Reverend John F. Doerfler
Bishop of Marquettte

Bishop John F. Doerfler

Bishop John F. Doerfler was ordained and installed as the 13th Bishop of Marquette on February 11, 2014. 

Bishop John F. Doerfler was born on Nov. 2, 1964 in Appleton, Wisconsin, the son of the late Henry Doerfler and Germaine (Mancl) Doerfler.  He graduated from Appleton West High School in 1983 and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and classics from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.  He then became a seminarian at Gregorian University in Rome, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology.  He was ordained to the priesthood on July 13, 1991.

Bishop Doerfler’s first priestly assignment was as parochial vicar at St. John Nepomucene Parish in Little Chute, Wisconsin from 1991-1995.  He then spent the next two years earning his licentiate in canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  When he returned to Wisconsin, he was appointed defender of the bond for the Tribunal of the Diocese of Green Bay and parochial vicar of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay, while earning his licentiate in sacred theology from John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family.  He went on to earn his doctorate in sacred theology from the same institute in 2008.

Other diocesan positions held by Bishop Doerfler included assistant chancellor, judge for the Tribunal, chancellor, and vicar general, a post he held since 2005.  In the past he also served as administrator of Holy Trinity Parish in Casco, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and St. John the Evangelist Parish in Green Bay, and St. Joseph Parish in Sturgeon Bay.  He was also sacramental minister of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Green Bay, as well as St. Martin Parish in Cecil.  In addition, he served as rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wis. and was a part-time lecturer in moral theology at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners.

Bishop Doerfler has written several articles on medical ethics for various publications.  Organizations he has worked with include Teens Encounter Christ, Courage, Widows of Prayer and Retrouvaille.  He has also done some Hispanic ministry, taught diocesan lay ministry formation courses, offered adult education conferences, was retreat master at Holy Name of Jesus Retreat House on Chambers Island, and served one term as chair of the Marriage Research Committee of the Canon Law Society of America.

Bishop Doerfler’s family includes his brother, Thomas Doerfler; sister-in-law, Lisa (Hartzheim) Doerfler; and nephew, Bryan Doerfler.

Photograph of Bishop James H. Garland
Most Reverend James H. Garland
Bishop Emeritus of Marquette

Bishop Emeritus James H. Garland

Bishop Emeritus James H. Garland was installed as the 11th Bishop of Marquette on November 11, 1992. He served the Marquette diocese for 13 years, retiring on December 13, 2005.

Bishop James Garland was born on December 13, 1931, at Wilmington, Ohio, to a farm family of four brothers and two sisters.  

Bishop Garland received a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1953.  In the same year, he began studies at the seminaries of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and in 1960 received a Master's Degree in Philosophy from Mount Saint Mary's Seminary of the West.  In 1965, he received a Master's Degree in Social Work from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

After ordination to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on August 15, 1959, Bishop Garland served in several parishes and directed offices of Catholic Charities in Springfield and Dayton, Ohio, and then the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Charities.  

On June 2, 1984, Bishop Garland was appointed to the Episcopacy by Pope John Paul II and ordained Titular Bishop of Garriana and Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Cincinnati on July 25, 1984.  He also directed the Archdiocesan Departments of Community Services and Pastoral Services of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  

Bishop James Garland was installed as the eleventh Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, on November 11, 1992.  

Bishop Garland served on the Administrative Committee of the United States Catholic Conference/National Conference of Catholic Bishops.  He served as Chairman of the United States Catholic Conference Committee for the Campaign for Human Development from November 1992 to November 1995, and as Chairperson of the Bishops of Region VI of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops from November 1995 to November 1997.

Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop Garland as Bishop of Marquette on December 13, 2005.  However, Bishop Garland continued to serve as diocesan administrator until Bishop Alexander K. Sample’s ordination and installation as Bishop of Marquette on January 25, 2006.

After his retirement, Bishop Garland served for two years as Executive Director of the Bishop Baraga Association, and he continues to write columns for The U.P. Catholic newspaper.  He presides at Confirmations and other events at the request of Bishop Doerfler and celebrates Mass regularly at the Cathedral Parish as well as providing weekend assistance for parishes of the diocese.

Brief bios of past bishops of the Diocese of Marquette

Bishop Frederic Baraga
Called the apostle to the Native Americans, Bishop Baraga was born in Mala vas, Slovenia on June 29, 1797. He came to the United States in 1830, and moved into northern Michigan and the Lake Superior region soon thereafter. He was consecrated a bishop and named Vicar Apostolic of the Upper Peninsula Nov. 1, 1853 in Cincinnati. The Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette was established in 1857. Baraga served as bishop until his death in Marquette on Jan. 19, 1868. The cause for his Beatification is now being considered in Rome, and he was declared Venerable on May 10, 2012.
Bishop Ignatius Mrak
Born in Poelland, Slovenia on Oct. 16, 1810, Bishop Mrak served as Vicar General of the diocese under Bishop Baraga and was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette on Feb. 7, 1869 in Cincinnati. He resigned as bishop in 1878 to return to work among the Native American missions, while continuing to assist the clergy in the growing lumber and mining towns. He died Jan. 2, 1901 in Marquette.
Bishop John Vertin
Born July 17, 1844 in Doblice Parice, Slovenia, Bishop Vertin completed his schooling in the U.S. and was ordained in Marquette Aug. 30, 1860. He was consecrated the diocese’s third bishop on Sept. 14, 1879 in Negaunee’s St. Paul Church. He died Feb. 26, 1899 in Marquette.
Bishop Frederick Eis
Born in Germany and ordained in Marquette Oct. 30, 1870, Bishop Eis was consecrated the fourth Bishop of Marquette Aug. 24, 1899. He resigned July 8, 1922 upon being named an Assistant at the Papal Throne. He served as bishop of the diocese for 23 years. He died May 5, 1926 in Marquette.
Bishop Paul J. Nussbaum
The first of the diocese’s bishops native to the United States, Bishop Nussbaum was born in Philadelphia Sept. 7, 1870. He was ordained May 20, 1894 in New Jersey and consecrated Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas May 20, 1912. Bishop Nussbaum was installed as the fifth bishop of Marquette Feb. 6, 1923. He died June 24, 1935 in Marquette.
Bishop Joseph C. Plagens
Born in Posen, Poland on Jan. 29, 1880, Bishop Plagens was ordained July 4, 1903 in Detroit. He was consecrated Sept. 30, 1934 as Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, and was installed as the sixth bishop of Marquette Jan. 29, 1936 at St. John Church in Marquette. He was named Bishop of Grand Rapids Dec. 16, 1940 and died March 31, 1943 in Grand Rapids.
Bishop Francis J. Magner
Born in Wilmington, Ill., on March 18, 1887 and ordained May 17, 1913 in Rome, Bishop Magner was consecrated a bishop Feb. 24, 1941 in Chicago. He was installed as the seventh Bishop of Marquette March 20, 1941 at St. Peter Cathedral. He died just six years later, on June 13, 1947, in Marquette.
Bishop Thomas L. Noa
Born in Iron Mountain on Dec. 18, 1892, Bishop Noa was ordained Dec. 23, 1916 in Rome. He was consecrated Coadjutor Bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, March 19, 1946. He was transferred to Marquette Aug. 20, 1947 and was installed the eighth bishop of the diocese Sept. 24. He retired Jan. 10, 1968 but served until March of that year as Apostolic Administrator. He died March 13, 1977 in Marquette after having served more than 60 years as a priest, 30 as a bishop.
Bishop Charles A. Salatka
Born Feb. 26, 1918 in Grand Rapids, Bishop Salatka was ordained Feb. 24, 1945 and consecrated March 6, 1962 as Auxiliary Bishop of Grand Rapids. He was installed the ninth Bishop of Marquette March 25, 1968 in St. Peter Cathedral. On Dec. 15, 1977 he was installed as Archbishop of Oklahoma City and served there until his retirement on Jan. 22, 1992. He died March 17, 2003 in Oklahoma City.
Bishop Mark F. Schmitt
Bishop Schmitt was born Feb. 14, 1923 in Algoma, Wis. He was ordained May 22, 1948 in Green Bay. He was installed as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Marquette May 8, 1978 after having served as Auxiliary Bishop of Green Bay. He retired as bishop in November 1992 and lived in the Big Bay area before moving to Green Bay, Wis., in 2005.  He died Dec. 14, 2011 in DePere, Wis.
Bishop James H. Garland
Born Dec. 13, 1931 in Wilmington, Ohio, Bishop Garland was ordained Aug. 15, 1959 in Cincinnati. On June 5, 1984 he was appointed to the Episcopacy by Pope John Paul II and ordained Titular Bishop of Garriana and Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Cincinnati on July 25, 1984. Bishop Garland was installed as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Marquette Nov. 11, 1992. He retired Dec. 13, 2005 and resides in Marquette.
Bishop Alexander K. Sample
Bishop Sample was born Nov. 7, 1960 in Kalispell, Mont. He was ordained a priest on June 1, 1990 at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. After receiving his Licentiate in Canon Law in Rome in 1996, he returned to the Diocese of Marquette to assume duties in the Chancery Office. He was ordained and installed as the 12th bishop of the diocese on Jan. 25, 2006.  He was appointed Archbishop of Portland in Oregon on Jan. 29, 2013 and installed as archbishop there on April 2, 2013.
Source attribution:  Angela S. Johnson, Seasons of Faith: A Walk through the History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette 1900-2000 (Marquette, Mich: Diocese of Marquette, 2006) with corrections and additions by diocesan staff
The earthly remains of six diocesan bishops are interred in the Bishops’ Crypt in the basement of St. Peter Cathedral: Ignatius Mrak, John Vertin, Frederick Eis, Francis Magner, Thomas Noa and Mark Schmitt. The earthly remains of Venerable Frederic Baraga are entombed in a marble sarcophagus in the Baraga Chapel at St. Peter Cathedral.

Diocese of Marquette ~ 1004 Harbor Hills Drive, Marquette, MI 49855-8851 ~ (906) 225-1141