CLEARWATER — A priest who attended high school in Clearwater and served in two Tampa Bay area parishes has been named bishop of Beaumont, Texas, by Pope Francis, the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg said.
Monsignor David Toups, 49, formerly served as pastor of Christ the King Parish in Tampa and associate pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Spring Hill. He currently serves as rector of the St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, a position he’s held since 2012.
Pope Francis made the announcement Tuesday.
In a letter to the faithful of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Toups said, “As I depart for my new mission in Texas, the beautiful and indelible memories of my life here cannot be erased by locale. Many family and friends are still here and so I look forward to visits back to this great diocese.”
Toups grew up in Houma, La., and moved to Clearwater with bis family when he was a teenager. He attended Clearwater Central Catholic High School, graduating in 1989. He thought he would study to become a lawyer, but in his second year of college chose to pursue the priesthood, the diocese said on its web page.
He was ordained a priest in 1997 at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg.
Toups obtained a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology at the St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami then attended the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He later received a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical St. Thomas Aquinas University.
In addition to his work with local parishes, Toups served with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C.
The Diocese of Beaumont covers nine eastern Texas counties and is led by Bishop Curtis J. Guillory. The center of the diocese is the Beaumont-Port Arthur metropolitan area, where the economy is driven by petrochemical manufacturing. The diocese borders Louisiana, where Toups still has close ties.
The selection of bishops rests with the pope, based on input that typically starts at the diocesan level and includes the pope’s representative in the candidate’s nation, known as the papal nuncio, and the Vatican-based Congregation of Bishops, according to the web page of the U.S. Conference of Bishops.
St. Petersburg Bishop Gregory Parkes called Toups a "faithful, joyful, and prayerful priest whom the Lord has now called to even greater service in the Church."
“We congratulate Bishop-Elect Toups on this appointment," Parkes said, “and assure him of our prayers during this time of transition.”
Times staff writer Kathy Saunders contributed to this report.