Archbishop Nienstedt assisting at Michigan parish

| January 13, 2016 | 11 Comments

Archbishop John Nienstedt is assisting in a parish in Battle Creek, Michigan, the parish announced in its Jan. 10 bulletin. The archbishop emeritus of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Archbishop Nienstedt will be helping with various ministries at St. Philip Catholic Church for about six months, according to its pastor, Father John Fleckenstein, who wrote in the bulletin that he needs assistance at the parish for health reasons and to allow him to complete projects in his role as episcopal vicar for education for the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Father Fleckenstein wrote that Archbishop Nienstedt “will celebrate some of the weekend and weekday Masses, visit the sick in the hospital, visit the sick and homebound, and celebrate Mass for the nursing home and assisted living facilities.” Archbishop Nienstedt may also celebrate Mass at other parishes in the diocese when their pastors are away.

“While the archbishop is not ‘assigned’ to the parish, I’m grateful he will assist us in these next few months,” Father Fleckenstein wrote, adding that in the summer Archbishop Nienstedt plans “moving on to a new ministry.”

A native of Detroit and former auxiliary bishop of its archdiocese, Archbishop Nienstedt was named coadjutor archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2007 and was installed its archbishop in 2008 upon the retirement of Archbishop Harry Flynn. Along with Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché, Archbishop Nienstedt resigned in June 2015 following criminal and civil charges brought against the archdiocese by Ramsey County on its handling of the sexual abuse allegations against a former priest.

Father Fleckenstein wrote that he has known Archbishop Nienstedt for about 20 years, since the archbishop was pastor of what is now the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Michigan. Archbishop Nienstedt will maintain an office at St. Philip and reside at the St. Clare House at St. Joseph, another Battle Creek parish.

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