Top 10 most read local news stories of 2018

| December 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
2019 New Year


The following stories were the top 10 most read local news stories at in 2018.

  1. Father William Baer dies unexpectedly. On Jan. 14, 2018, the pastor of Transfiguration in Oakdale died in the rectory before the day’s 8:30 a.m. Mass. Tributes to the 60-year-old poured in, especially from men who had been seminarians at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul while Father Baer was rector from 1999 to 2010. Many recalled him as an effective preacher who inspired conversion.
  2. Bismarck priest appointed St. Paul Seminary’s new rectorbut then recalled to home diocese. In January, Msgr. Thomas Richter began serving as the major seminary’s vice rector as he prepared to replace outgoing rector Msgr. Aloysius Callaghan in July. But in April, Archbishop Bernard Hebda announced that Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck had asked Msgr. Richter to return to North Dakota to serve a parish. In July, Father Joseph Taphorn, a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha, was announced as the new rector. He will be installed Feb. 11.
  3. Catholic Studies founder Don Briel reflects on dying well. Ahead of his Feb. 15 death from leukemia, Briel, 71, who retired in 2014 from a long teaching and administrative career at the University of St. Thomas, including directing its flagship Center for Catholic Studies, shared final thoughts on the rise and future of Catholic Studies, his love for Cardinal John Henry Newman and embracing the process of dying.
  4. Sisters leaving Visitation Monastery in Mendota Heights. When the sisters moved from a previous site in St. Paul to Mendota Heights in 1966, the sisters numbered 45, a count that has steadily dwindled to three remaining occupants, ages 76 to 88. By mid-January, they expect to finalize moves to health care facilities or another monastery.Leaders of Visitation School, which the sisters founded, emphasize that their influence will continue to shape Visitation students.
  5. Seminary professor made auxiliary bishop of Hartford, Connecticut. Father Juan Miguel Betancourt Torres, 48, taught Scripture at St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity from 2008 until Sept. 18, 2018, when Pope Francis announced the appointment. The Puerto Rico native is a priest of the Servants of the Holy Eucharist and of the Blessed Virgin Mary and also served as pastor of St. Francis de Sales in St. Paul. He was ordained a bishop in Hartford Oct. 18.
  6. Bishop Cozzens says the Archbishop Nienstedt investigation was ‘doomed to fail.’ In the wake of controversy stirred by retired U.S. nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria V Vìganò and related questions around his role in the 2014 investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct against Archbishop John Nienstedt, who resigned as archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2015, Bishop Andrew Cozzens made his first public statement about the investigation Aug. 31. Bishop Cozzens emphasized that in hindsight, the process had weaknesses from the start, with archdiocesan leaders lacking experience and having “no authority to act.” He said the situation illustrates the need for an independent review board for allegations against bishops, a structure for which he advocated during the U.S. bishops meeting in November.
  7. A new school aims to educate south metro Catholics. Located on the campus of Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville, Unity High School plans to open in the fall of 2019. Archbishop Hebda approved the beginning of a three-phase process to determine whether the school would gain official recognition as a Catholic high school in the archdiocese.
  8. Pope Francis recognizes the martyrdom of former Cretin High School teacher. De La Salle Christian Brother James Miller, 37, was murdered while serving a Catholic boys school in Guatemala in 1982. Prior to his ministry there, he taught Spanish at Cretin in
    St. Paul from 1966-1971 and 1979-1980. He founded the school’s soccer program. Known as “Brother Fix-It,” he also did maintenance work around the school. The papal recognition is expected to pave the way for his beatification.
  9. Catholic Cemeteries to begin offering ‘natural burial’ in fall. The Catholic Cemeteries set aside a section of Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights for burial that eschews embalming, vaults and other non-biodegradable materials in order to accommodate a movement toward a simpler, “greener” burial process.
  10. Scandals have turned scrutiny on seminary culture and formation. Leaders at The Seminaries of St. Paul explain the efforts taken in recent years to ensure that local seminaries’ overall culture and the formation process are healthy, and they are shaping future priests in a way that helps them form appropriate and authentic relationships with each other and their some-day parishioners.

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