Richard Stika

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Richard Frank Stika
Bishop of Knoxville
Archdiocese Louisville
Diocese Knoxville
Appointed January 12, 2009
Installed March 19, 2009
Predecessor Joseph Edward Kurtz
Ordination December 14, 1985
by John L. May
Consecration March 19, 2009
by Justin Francis Rigali, Joseph Edward Kurtz, and Robert Joseph Shaheen
Personal details
Born (1957-07-04) July 4, 1957 (age 59)
St. Louis, Missouri
Styles of
Richard Frank Stika
Coat of arms of Richard Frank Stika.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

Richard Frank Stika (born July 4, 1957) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is serving as the third and current bishop of the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee.


Early life and education[edit]

Richard Stika was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to the late Frank and Helen (née Musielak) Stika; his father was of Czech heritage and his mother Polish.[1] The third of four children, he has three brothers, Lawrence, Robert, and Joseph. He was baptized at St. Francis de Sales Church on July 21, 1957, and attended Epiphany of Our Lord School in South St. Louis.[1]

Stika attended St. Augustine Minor Seminary High School in Holland, Michigan, for one year before entering Bishop DuBourg High School in St. Louis, graduating in 1975.[1] He then studied at St. Louis University, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business in 1979, and at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (1981) and Master of Divinity (1985).[1] Cardinal John Carberry ordained him a deacon on May 1, 1985.[2]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Stika was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop John L. May on December 14, 1985,[2] and then served as an associate pastor of Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Webster Groves until 1991.[3] He was spiritual director of the Catholic Youth Organization and associate director of the Office of Vocations from 1991 to 1994, and an associate pastor at St. Paul Parish in Fenton (1991–1992) and at the Cathedral of St. Louis (1992–1994).[3]

From 1994 to 2004, Stika was chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. During this period, he also served as private secretary and master of ceremonies to Archbishop Justin Francis Rigali (1994–1997), vicar general and vicar for religious (1997–2004), and member of the College of Consultors (1997–2009). He raised to the rank of Honorary Prelate on June 28, 1995, and coordinated Pope John Paul II's visit to St. Louis in 1999.[1]

Named Vicar for Priests in 2002, he served as both pastor of the Church of the Annunziata in Ladue and episcopal vicar for Child and Youth Protection from 2004 to 2009.[3] He underwent multiple bypass surgery in the summer of 2004.[4]

Bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee[edit]

On January 12, 2009, Stika was appointed the third Bishop of Knoxville by Pope Benedict XVI.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following March 19 from Cardinal Justin Rigali, with Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz and Bishop Robert Joseph Shaheen serving as co-consecrators, at the Knoxville Convention Center.[2] He selected as his episcopal motto: "Iesu Confido In Te" ("Jesus, I Trust in You").[5] As Bishop, he serves as the spiritual leader of nearly 60,000 Catholics in East Tennessee.

In April 2009, Stika described the University of Notre Dame's decision to have President Barack Obama deliver its commencement speech and receive an honorary degree as "embarrassing and shameful," given Obama's "approach to abortion rights, embryonic-stem-cell research, and other issues is not in keeping with the teachings of our Catholic faith."[6]

Possessing bi-ritual faculties, Stika can also celebrate the liturgy according to the Maronite rite, an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the pope.[1] He is also a member of the Knight of Columbus and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. He is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, and has a cockapoo named Rosie.[1] He is a close friend of Cardinal Rigali, and considered the latter's protégé.[4][7]


Stika suffers from type 1 diabetes and uses an insulin pump.[8] He underwent cardiac bypass surgery in 2004, and suffered a minor heart attack in 2009.[8]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph Kurtz
Bishop of Knoxville
Succeeded by