What began in peaceful reflection ended in jubilant celebration when Bishop Andrew Cozzens was ordained in a packed Cathedral of St. Paul Dec. 9 on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In his address to the assembly of local faithful, clergy members and area bishops, Bishop Cozzens continued the Marian theme of the Mass, referencing the feast day and the motto he chose, “Praebe nobis cor tuum” (“Mary, lend us your heart”).
“Let us turn our eyes to Mary because she’s the one who was conceived without sin,” he said. “Sometimes we might think that makes her far from us or different from us. But we know it’s actually sin that separates us one from another. Because Mary is sinless, she’s even closer to us.
“Let us ask her to lend us her heart, so that we may love Jesus with the same humility and purity that she has, so that we might learn to love the way she loves, which is the way Jesus loves,” he said.
Archbishop John Nienstedt, principal consecrator and celebrant, led the congregation in verses from “Ave Maria” at the start of his homily and said that, just as God had a plan for Mary, he has a plan for the rest of the world, including Bishop Cozzens, who now faces “quite a job description.”
“The title of bishop is one of service, not honor,” Archbishop Nienstedt said. “In that context, the bishop is to minister to the word of God in season and out.”
“The Church reminds every bishop to follow the example of the Good Shepherd, not only for the 99 that remain in the sheep pen, but also for the one or more who have wandered away because they were misinformed or weak, marginalized or a stranger, no longer practicing or alienated for whatever reason,” he said. “The bishop, because he is Catholic, has a universal perspective on his mission of evangelization. He is called to witness the truth of the Catholic faith on behalf of those who are Catholic, non-Catholic and even non-believers. None of these must escape his notice or his pastoral concern.”
Both Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Cozzens condemned the clergy sexual misconduct that has come to light recently and called for healing and justice. Bishop Cozzens said that the sinful members of the Church do not change the holiness of the Church, which has Christ as its foundation.
“You and I must seek to live the fullness of the truth of the Gospel that Jesus Christ reveals,” he said. “You and I must seek to become like Jesus. . . . When we have the love of Jesus in our hearts, then we can love like Jesus.”
Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Bishop Paul Sirba of Duluth served as co-consecrators at the Mass.
Pope Francis appointed Bishop Cozzens as an auxiliary bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Oct. 11. He joins Bishop Lee Piché, the archdiocese’s other auxiliary bishop, in assisting Archbishop Nienstedt in the leadership of the archdiocese.