Bishop Roger Morin was named vicar general and moderator of the curia in the New Orleans Archdiocese June 15, 2001. His episcopal ordination was April 22, 2003 at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
A native of Dracut, Massachusetts, he was born on March 7, 1941, the son of Germain J. and Lillian E. Morin. After high school and college studies, he earned a bachelor degree in philosophy in 1966 from St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, and continued theology studies at St. John's for two years of graduate school.
Bishop Morin visited New Orleans in 1967 to work in its new summer Witness program, conducted by the archdiocesan Social Apostolate. When he returned to New Orleans in 1968, he became director of The Center, a neighborhood social service organization run by the Social Apostolate. He enrolled at Notre Dame Seminary, studying in the evenings and on Saturdays in addition to his full-time position at The Center.
Bishop Morin was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Hannan on April 15, 1971 in his home parish of St. Therese in Dracut, Massachusetts. His first parish assignment was at St. Henry Parish in New Orleans.
In 1973, he was appointed associate director of the Social Apostolate and in 1975 became the director, responsible for the operation of nine year-round social service centers sponsored by the archdiocese.
Bishop Morin holds a master of science degree in urban studies from Tulane University and completed a program in 1974 as a community economic developer. He was in residence at Incarnate Word Parish beginning in 1981 and served as pastor there from 1988 through April 2002.
In 1978, he was a volunteer member of Mayor Ernest "Dutch" Morial's transition team dealing with federal programs. Bishop Morin then accepted a $1 a year position as deputy special assistant to the mayor for federal programs and projects. He served the city of New Orleans until 1981, when he was appointed archdiocesan vicar for community affairs.
In 1981, he assumed the full-time position of vicar for community affairs, with responsibility over nine agencies: Catholic Charities, Social Apostolate, human relations, alcoholics' ministry, Apostleship of the Sea, cemeteries, disaster relief, hospitals, and prisons. He was named a monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1985.
One of the highlights of his priesthood came in 1987 when he directed the archdiocese's preparations for Pope John Paul II's historic visit to New Orleans. The visit involved thousands of community volunteers and coordination among national, state, and local religious and political leaders. He also coordinated the events of the bicentennial of the archdiocese in 1993.
In 1995, Bishop Morin received the Weiss Brotherhood Award presented by the National Conference of Christians and Jews for his service in the field of human relations. He is a member of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
He was installed as Bishop of Biloxi on Monday, April 27, 2009 at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral in Biloxi. The Most Reverend Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S.A., and the Metropolitan Archbishop of Mobile, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Rodi, presided at the ceremony. Bishop Morin's episcopal motto is "Walk Humbly and Act Justly."
Bishop Morin has one brother, Paul, and three sisters: Lillian (Pat) Johnson, Elaine Joncas, and Susan Spellissy. His parents and his brother James are deceased.
ARMORIAL BEARINGS OF THE MOST REVEREND ROGER MORIN, DD
The bishop’s coat of arms is composed of a shield upon which there are symbolic charges, a motto, and the external ornaments of rank.
It is customary in North America for the coat of arms of the bishop and those of his diocese to be marshaled together and depicted on the same shield. The coat of arms of Bishop Morin and the Diocese of Biloxi are displayed side by side which is called impaling the arms. In addition to being the most common method used in North America, it is also one of the ways to depict the coats of arms of two spouses. Thus, using impalement shows that the bishop is “married” to his diocese.
The left side of the shield shows the arms of the Diocese of Biloxi which depict a gold (yellow) field on which is a silver (white) lighthouse, the famous landmark on the beach at Biloxi. To the left of the lighthouse is a green pine tree emblematic of the forestry and lumber industries that are of great significance in the diocese. To the right of the lighthouse is a crescent surrounded by twelve stars, all in blue, to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in her title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the diocese. The lower half of the diocesan arms is a blue, wavy base symbolic of the Gulf of Mexico. On this base is a silver fishnet containing two gold fish to signify the fishing industry along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Contained in the fishnet is also a gold anchor, the symbol of hope, reminding us that our hope is in the Lord, Jesus Christ.
For his personal arms, Bishop Morin, has adopted a design to reflect his religious devotion and priestly ministry. Seen in the sinister (left side of the bearer) impalement of the shield, the arms are composed of a silver (white) field with a large red horizontal bar across the center. On this red bar (called a “fess”) is a simple gold (yellow) cross in the form known as “potent.” This shows the centrality of the cross of Christ and symbolizes the power of the faith grounded in and guided by the Holy Spirit. In the upper section are three blue fleur-de-lis. These allude to the life and priestly ministry the bishop exercised in the Archdiocese of New Orleans before becoming bishop of Biloxi. In the lower section is a blue monogram composed of the letter “M” intertwined with a cross. This monogram of Our Lady is taken from the reverse side of the Miraculous Medal manifested to St. Catherine Labouré. The bishop included this to show his devotion to the Mother of God.
For his motto, Bishop Morin has selected the phrase “WALK HUMBLY AND ACT JUSTLY.” This phrase is taken from the prophecy of Micah 6:8.
The shield is ensigned with a gold (yellow) episcopal cross. Such crosses resemble processional crosses but they are, in fact, different. In the Middle Ages such a cross was carried directly in front of all metropolitan archbishops and Papal Legates as a symbol of their authority. Eventually, all bishops began using this emblem and adopted it in their coats of arms as well. The episcopal cross ceased to be used in the late nineteenth century but the cross behind the shield is the true emblem of episcopal heraldry. In addition, above the shield is the green ecclesiastical hat called a “galero” with twelve tassels pendant on both sides. This broad brimmed hat, once worn in cavalcades, is no longer used but remains as a heraldic emblem. The original color worn by bishops and archbishops was green, not purple. This “episcopal color” is retained in heraldry. These external ornaments are those used for a prelate with the rank of bishop according to the Instruction of the Holy See, “Ut Sive,” of March 1969.
Bishop Morin’s original coat of arms was redesigned and marshaled to those of the Diocese of Biloxi and emblazoned by the Reverend Guy W. Selvester, a priest of the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey.