Msgr. David Toups, rector of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, left, congratulates Father Martin Dunne III moments after he becomes a new priest of the Diocese of Palm Beach. On June 9, Msgr. Toups was named bishop-elect of the Diocese of Beamount, Texas.(LINDA REEVES | FC)

Pope Francis promotes Florida priest as new Texas bishop

Bishop-elect Toups to Florida faith family: ‘Thank you for loving me.’

ORLANDO | With bittersweet joy, June 9, 2020 will be remembered as a monumental day in the career of Mgsr. David L. Toups, rector and president of St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach. Because on June 9 Pope Francis made the announcement that Msgr. Toups was appointed as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas. Immediately following the pope’s message, Msgr. Toups and Bishop Curtis J. Guillory of the Diocese of Beaumont took to Facebook Live to announce the news.

“This is a very special moment, a grace moment,” Bishop Guillory said as he began his welcoming speech for Bishop-elect Toups. Bishop Guillory, 76, was appointed to head the Beaumont Diocese in 2000 by St. John Paul II, two years after the pope named him as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Bishop Guillory, one of 10 African American Catholic bishops, is the first African American bishop to head a diocese in Texas.

He views Bishop-elect Toups promotion to the Diocese of Beaumont as a sign of unity and of hope for the many communities in the area. “Dr. King said it so well, ‘We fear each other because we do not know each other and we do not know each other because we do not communicate with one another,’” Bishop Guillory said.

The thankful bishop-elect took to the podium and shared his appreciation. “My heart is already overflowing with love for the faithful of Beaumont ever since I received the call from the apostolic nuncio,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful for the confidence that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has placed in me in naming me the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont.”

Born March 26, 1971, in Seattle, he attended Florida Southern College in Lakeland before entering St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami. He was ordained to the priesthood June 14, 1997, for the St. Petersburg Diocese, and his first a parish assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Spring Hill, Florida.

Bishop-elect Toups served at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington from 2007 to 2010 as associate director of the Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. He is an international presenter and accomplished writer authoring two books: “Reclaiming Our Priestly Character and The Priests We Need: A Rector Speaks to His Seminarians.”

Romans 8:28 will be his motto, as it was special to his mother. “For those who love God, all things work together for good.” Although it was his mother’s favorite Scripture, it is an unusual choice since Bishop-elect Toups will be sharing the same motto with fellow Bishop Guillory. “It (Romans 8:28) has been the guide for my whole family for many years and it has guided our diocesan family for the past 20,” he said. “As they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”  

“I feel very at home here already,” Bishop-elect Toups said, referencing the similarities of both his new home in Texas, and Louisiana, where he grew up. “To the whole Catholic community of the Diocese of Beaumont, I look forward to joining you permanently.”

“So, what is my agenda for us as your new bishop?” he asked. “Very simple: to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. And to love him and to love the Church and to serve this Church that he gave us 2,000 years ago.” He added, “I look forward to an end to this global pandemic and to being able to fully reopen our parishes that we may all receive our Eucharistic Lord once again.”

“To the African American community, I desire to journey with you in peacefully conquering the sin of racism and injustice in our midst today,” Bishop-elect Toups said. “As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are people of hope.”

He saved his most heartfelt thanks for last. He spoke of his family and the Catholics of Florida. “To my dear family, my parents and first witnesses to the faith: Mom and dad I know that you are still looking out for me, please intercede for me to be a shepherd worthy of the name. To my sister and brother and their wonderful families who mean the world to me, thank you for your love and support.”

“To my faith family in Florida who I will dearly miss in the Diocese of St. Petersburg and St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, you have been my support and my life,” he said, emotionally. “Thank you for loving me. And I still count on your prayers and friendship for many years to come.”

Bishop-elect Toups ended his speech addressing his new Texan flock. “To my new family of the Diocese of Beaumont…I’m all yours. Thank you for welcoming me. And I can’t wait to meet you. May my heart be expanded to love you the way God loves you.”

Bishop-elect Toups will be ordained Aug. 21 at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica.