KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- The Diocese of Knoxville's new bishop didn't wait to have a little fun at his morning introduction news conference.
Monsignor Richard F. Stika joked that he was leaving his traditional red headress, known as a miter, at home, and donned a UT hat for today's events.
Stika got loud applause, cheers, and a few laughs from diocese leaders, and members of parishes as he started his news conference by putting the hat on.
"I normally don't wear hats," Stika joked, "and again it just shows that God has a sense of humor. I'll wear this hat with a great sense of honor and respect."
Stika was named Bishop-elect of the Knoxville Diocese by Pope Benedict XVI Monday morning.
Bishop-elect Stika has served both in pastoral and archdiocesan
leadership roles, including chancellor and vicar general for the Archdiocese of St. Louis since his ordination in 1985.
He is currently the pastor of the Church of the Annunziata in Ladue, Mo.
He will be the third bishop of the Knoxville Diocese when he's installed on March 19, 2009, at the Knoxville Convention Center.
The Diocese of Knoxville was founded in 1988.
He succeeds Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, who was appointed archbishop of Louisville on June 12, 2007.
A news conference has been scheduled for 11 am Monday.
More details as they develop on VolunteerTV.com and Volunteer TV News at Noon.