Local faithful flock to apostolic administrator’s first Mass

| July 12, 2015 | 0 Comments
Archbishop Bernard Hebda has a look of joy in the sacristy of the Cathedral of St. Paul as he prepares to celebrate his first Mass there July 12. Among the concelebrants were Father John Ubel, rector of the cathedral, Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan, rector of the St. Paul Seminary, and Father Paul LaFontaine, a retired priest currently serving at the seminary. Also offering their service to the liturgy were Deacons Phil Stewart and Russ Shupe. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Bernard Hebda has a look of joy in the sacristy of the Cathedral of St. Paul as he prepares to celebrate his first Mass there July 12. Among the concelebrants were Father John Ubel, rector of the Cathedral, Msgr. Aloysius Callaghan, rector of the St. Paul Seminary, and Father Paul LaFontaine, a retired priest serving at the seminary. Also offering their service to the liturgy were Deacons Phil Stewart and Russ Shupe. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Bernard Hebda found a fitting and “powerful” message in the Gospel reading July 12 as he celebrated Mass for the first time in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as its apostolic administrator.

In relating the events of the Gospel, Archbishop Hebda said St. Mark “makes sure that he tells us that Jesus did two things: He summoned and sent.”

“The readings certainly remind us of who we are as followers of Jesus and what it is that we must do,” Archbishop Hebda said in his homily at the Cathedral of St. Paul. “So many people have asked me what are my plans for the archdiocese. Just look at today’s Gospel, and that will give you a sense for what it is we must do.

“My brothers and sisters, all of us are called and sent,” he continued, adding that as a community Church, Pope Francis says Catholics are to be “missionary disciples,” taking the joy of the Gospel outside of church walls. “My thought is that if we remember that we are summoned and sent, that changes everything.”

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Hebda, coadjutor of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, to temporarily lead the archdiocese after Archbishop John Nienstedt resigned June 15 “to give the archdiocese a new beginning amidst the many challenges we face.” Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché also resigned June 15.

Missionaries of Charity sisters greet Archbishop Hebda outside the cathedral after Mass. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Missionaries of Charity sisters greet Archbishop Bernard Hebda outside the Cathedral after Mass. In his homily, Archbishop Hebda said he’ll say the prayer of Cardinal John Henry Newman that the sisters recite daily, asking Jesus to “shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul.” Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Citing the first reading as an example of how missionaries are called, Archbishop Hebda described Amos as an “unlikely and reluctant prophet” who “isn’t from New Jersey, but from a faraway place” and embarked on a mission he didn’t choose. But, Archbishop Hebda explained, “Amos had the confidence that comes from knowing that he was called and entrusted with mission. When we, my brothers and sisters, know Christ, know the one who sends us, and know that the mission that we have been given is the source of him, we know how the story ends.

“Our struggles are not in vain and that Christ and his Church will triumph,” he added.

Because the work of the Church will always be communal, Archbishop Hebda said, “when doing the Lord’s work, we can never be lone rangers. There’s no opportunity for . . . pride when it’s always ‘us’ and never ‘me.’ When we go out two by two, we have to share the praise, and also share the blame at times.”

Archbishop Hebda also said the Gospel reading reflects the complementarity that God has created everyone with distinct gifts that people need to be mindful of. Whether laity and priests, women and men, young and old, or native-born and immigrant, “it’s important to recognize that God has blessed all of us with gifts that are absolutely essential to the life of the Church,” Archbishop Hebda said.

“Ultimately, we who are called and sent, we who strive to embrace the mystery, who go forth two by two, who, like Jesus, pitch our tent in this local Church, will be judged not by how quickly we resolve court cases, on how astute we are in finances, on how much we live up to our credentials or reputation, but on how effectively we make the love and mercy of Jesus — and only Jesus — present in our day.”

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Denise Kozojed, a parishioner of St. Hubert in Chanhassen, attended the welcome Mass to hear Archbishop Hebda’s message to the local faithful.

“I thought it was perfect. It was exactly what we need,” she said. “It isn’t a one-person thing. Everyone needs to take in the love of Christ and reflect back in our daily life.

“His message was wonderful about not measuring success by won court cases,” Kozojed continued. “It’s really to be faithful and do what God asks you. We’re living in an electronic age, and we’re so connected to noise [that] we don’t take enough quiet time to really hear what God is saying to us. And if we can get that habit in our daily practice, I think we can all make a huge difference that we have no idea how big it is.”

Kozojed said Catholics need to work on their personal faith and then come together to accomplish Christ’s mission. “We can’t rely on one shepherd,” she said.

After the liturgy, Archbishop Hebda greeted Mass-goers, took questions from media and then attended a reception in the Cathedral’s Hayden Hall.

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