Archbishop Hebda says wide input helpful for nuncio, next archbishop

| November 17, 2015 | 1 Comment
Archbishop Bernard Hebda gives his attention to a listening session participant Nov. 4 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Eric Wuebben/For The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Bernard Hebda gives his attention to a listening session participant Nov. 4 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Eric Wuebben/For The Catholic Spirit

An estimated 2,000 people attended 10 listening sessions Archbishop Bernard Hebda hosted throughout the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in October and November, and hundreds of other Catholics have shared their thoughts on the archdiocese’s future and next archbishop through letters, emails and its website.

The two-hour events — the likes of which Church experts have called “unprecedented” — “were a great opportunity for people to come together to talk about something that obviously was very important to them: this local Church,” Archbishop Hebda said. “I was overwhelmed by the number of people who came and impressed by how passionate they are about the Church.”

Archdiocesan officials are in the process of preparing reports from the final listening sessions to the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States, the diplomatic mission that aids the pope’s selection of U.S. bishops.

The archdiocese has already forwarded reports from earlier listening sessions.

Nuncio Carlo Maria Vigan will also receive information from his own envoy, Msgr. Michael Morgan, secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature, who observed three listening sessions Nov. 2-4 and met individually with more than 30 Catholic leaders.

Those who attended the sessions were asked to share what they considered the archdiocese’s strengths, challenges and qualities desired in the next archbishop.

Although Archbishop Hebda heard a variety of responses to all three questions, he noted that many people praised the archdiocese’s diversity, educational efforts and well-educated laity.

As for challenges, many people spoke about the archdiocese’s need to restore trust, be transparent and reach out to Catholics who feel marginalized or have left the Church, he said.

Making generalizations about the attributes people asked for in the next archbishop is “a little more difficult because there were so many,” Archbishop Hebda said. “So many people spoke about humility, needing a good communicator and somebody who’s prayerful.

“More often than not, what most people joked about, but was fresh in their minds, is that they want somebody like Pope Francis,” he added. “I think that gives us a pretty good idea of what people are looking for.”

The Catholic Spirit plans to offer in-depth analysis of the reports after they are completed.

Msgr. Morgan told The Catholic Spirit that listening sessions to gather information ahead of the selection of a bishop were, to his knowledge, unprecedented, but he didn’t expect the process to become the norm.

However, he said, the extraordinary process was warranted by the archdiocese’s challenges, including Reorganization and the June resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché.

Related:

Tags: , ,

Category: Welcome Archbishop Hebda

  • CatholicCrusader

    Bring back Archbishop Niendstedt, he was railroaded !!