Pope grants retired Basilica rector’s ‘request for laicization’

Pope Francis has granted a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state, including celibacy, to Michael O’Connell, retired rector of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

Michael O’Connell

Archbishop Bernard Hebda said in a statement that O’Connell petitioned the pope earlier this year for the change in status, often called a “request for laicization.”

O’Connell was ordained in 1967. His leadership in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis included founding and directing its permanent diaconate program, co-directing the vocations office, and serving as vicar general and moderator of the curia. He was pastor of St. Cecilia in St. Paul from 1984-1991 before being appointed Basilica rector from 1991-2008. He also served as pastor of Ascension in Minneapolis from 1999 until his retirement in 2015. He founded the Jeremiah Program, which helps single mothers and their children.

“While his priestly ministry will be sorely missed by many, I am hopeful that Pope Francis’ decision will open new avenues for Michael to serve,” Archbishop Hebda said.

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Category: Local News