Bishop Peter M. Muhich

Motto: “Exemplum Dedi Vobis” (“I have given you an example.” John 13:15)

Personal:

  • Born June 25, 1955 in Texarkana, Arkansas
  • Ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, September 29, 1989
  • Appointed May 12, 2020; ordained and installed as eighth bishop of Rapid City, July 9, 2020; served as bishop just under four years
  • Died February 17, 2024, after a brief battle with Esophageal Cancer

Obituary:

With great sorrow, the Office of Bishop in the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D., February 17, 2024, announces the death of Bishop Peter M. Muhich, 62. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last summer.

In 2020, Pope Francis named Fr. Peter M. Muhich, a priest from the Diocese of Duluth, as the Bishop of Rapid City. The appointment was announced on May 12 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, in Washington, D.C.

Bishop Muhich was ordained the 9th Bishop of Rapid City on July 9, 2020, by Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Mass was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City. Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were in place and the faithful were asked to view the ordination by live-stream and television broadcast.

For his episcopal motto Bishop Muhich chose words taken from the Gospel of John, where the Evangelist tells about the Last Supper and Jesus washing the apostles’ feet. Exemplum Dedi Vobis means “I have given you an example,” (Jn 13:15).

Bishop Muhich was born on May 13, 1961, in Eveleth, Minnesota, to Louis and Sally Muhich. The second of seven children, he grew up in a devout Catholic family on the Iron Range of Northern Minnesota where mining is the main industry. He graduated from Eveleth High School and the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn. He studied theology at the American College of Louvain in Belgium. He was ordained to the priesthood on September 29, 1989, for the Diocese of Duluth.

He served the Diocese of Duluth in many capacities. He was an associate pastor and pastor in parishes across the diocese. He was rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary for 11 years as well as pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Duluth for six years. He served on the presbyteral council, the diocesan personnel board, and as a dean and consultor. Over his years of priestly ministry, he also worked with the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program and the Diocesan Finance Office. In 2012 he led a strategic planning process for that diocese.

Bishop Muhich served on the Sister Thea Bowman Foundation Board of Directors, Pittsburgh, PA; Region VIII Bishops (Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota) representative to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2021-2023; and the Washington, DC., USCCB Subcommittee on Native American Affairs, 2021-present.

He was the first bishop to hold office in the new chancery building in 2020, where he dedicated Mary Mother of God Chapel shortly after his ordination. In June 2021, he issued a decree defining the boundaries for diocesan parishesIn July 2021 he established a convent for four members of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary from the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida. Bishop Muhich consecrated the Diocese of Rapid City to St. Joseph during the Year of St. Joseph 2020-2021. In 2022 he established the Flourishing Families Diocesan Strategic Planning Process to plan for the future of priests, parishes and Catholic ministry in western South Dakota.

In June 2022 he opened the USCCB Eucharistic Revival in the diocese with Mass, a Eucharistic procession and benediction in Memorial Park, Rapid City. In September of 2022, Bishop Muhich initiated a revision of the formation program for Commissioned Lay Ministers. In conjunction with the Office of Faith Formation, a new formation program was developed, which included both the initial and ongoing formation, and the group’s name was updated to Certified Lay Ecclesial Ministers. In November 2023 he released post-pandemic guidelines for communion.

Bishop Muhich served on the Board of Directors for the Western South Dakota Catholic Foundation, Rapid City Catholic School System and Catholic Social Services. He was publisher of the diocesan newspaper, West River Catholic.

He is survived by his parents, Louis and Sally Muhich, Eveleth, Minnesota; siblings John (Jean), Paul (Shari), Mary Kujala (David), Tom (Brandy Baker), and Jim (Sarah); brother-in-law Kurt Johnson; nieces Heather Heffner (Kyle), Michelle (Andrew Hadrich), Molly (Robert Power), Emma (Dojo Holliday), Kacey Kujala (Mitchell Kuhlmann), Sarah Kujala (Jake Jerrard), Arin Kujala, Hallie Muhich; nephews Joshua Muhich (Megan), Matthew Muhich (Lisa Jaskowiak), Nathan Muhich, Jacob Muhich, Felix Muhich and Jack Muhich; great nieces and nephews Drake Heffner, Lily Hadrich, Chase Hadrich, Evelyn Power, Cora Power, Remi Power, Elizabeth Muhich, and Lucas Muhich; uncle Eugene Muhich and aunts Maureen Muhich and Betty Brandt; and numerous cousins and other relatives.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Teresa and nephews Andrew Muhich and Joseph Muhich.

Services for Bishop Peter are as follows:

Sunday, February 25, 2024, Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

1:00 p.m.  Visitation begins
3:00 p.m.  Chaplet of Divine Mercy
3:45 p.m.  Rosary
4:45 p.m.  Vespers
5:30 p.m.  Vigil Service

Live stream at rapidcitydiocese.org/live and Facebook/DioceseofRapidCity. Begins at 3 p.m. with the Divine Chaplet of Mercy and will run until the Vigil Service is completed.

Monday, February 26, 2024

11:00 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help1:00 p.m.  Burial at Terra Sancta Priest Cemetery, followed by a reception at the Retreat Center.

Mass will air on NewsCenter1 (NBC), ConnectCenter1 (please check with your provider for channel details), nc1.tv and the NewsCenter1 and Diocese of Rapid City Facebook pages.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may your perpetual light shine upon him.

Memorials can be made to the Diocese of Rapid City, 225 Main St. Ste. 100, Rapid City, SD 57701

Exemplum Dedi Vobis

Bishop’s Funeral Mass and West River Catholic Columns