DULUTH – Pope Francis appointed the Rev. Michel Mulloy, a priest from South Dakota, the new bishop of the Diocese of Duluth.

Mulloy, 67, most recently served as vicar general and administrator for the Diocese of Rapid City in South Dakota. He will be ordained a bishop and officially assume his new role Oct. 1, according to a news release.

The appointment comes six months after former Bishop Paul Sirba, who helmed the Duluth diocese since 2009, died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest at age 59.

Mulloy was born in Mobridge, S.D., and entered the minor seminary when he was a sophomore in high school. He received his undergraduate education at St. Mary's University and Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minn., and attended the St. Paul Seminary afterward.

Mulloy was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1979. Since then, he has served in parishes across South Dakota until he was appointed to a leadership position in the Rapid City Diocese in 2017.

The Diocese of Duluth has more than 45,000 members spread across 10 northeastern Minnesota counties. Mulloy will be the diocese's 10th bishop.

He is arriving at a time when centuries-old Catholic routines have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Minnesota church services online for more than two months. In late May, the Diocese of Duluth started allowing parishes to resume in-person Mass celebrations if attendance is kept under 25% of a church's capacity and strict social distancing measures are in place, in accordance with state guidelines.

Last year, a federal judge also approved a nearly $40 million settlement between the Duluth diocese and about 125 survivors of clergy abuse.

Pope Francis recently named a Duluth priest the new bishop of the Diocese of Rapid City. The Rev. Peter Muhich, a Duluth priest who serves as rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary and pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea and Our Lady of Mercy, will take on his new role in the South Dakota Catholic community at an unscheduled date.