‘A theology of encounter’ – Pastoral approach praised

| May 23, 2016 | 0 Comments

Those who direct ministries in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis like what they see as they’ve observed Archbishop Bernard Hebda over the 11 months he has served in Minnesota.

Father Donald DeGrood, vicar for clergy, said that, as apostolic administrator, Archbishop Hebda “has demonstrated great humility, pastoral sensitivity, prudence and charity” — qualities that he thinks will serve priests and deacons well.

“We are in great need of restoring trust with the faithful and clergy,” Father DeGrood said. “With the many challenges priests and deacons face today, I look forward to ways Archbishop Hebda and archdiocese staff can restore trust and help our clergy to be healthy, happy and holy. If our priests are healthy, happy and holy we can then have great hope that our dear faithful will also continue to grow in holiness and be well served.”

Estela Villagrán Manancero’s first-hand experience with Archbishop Hebda began last summer when he let her know that he would like to participate in the Latino Family Day Mass.

“I was thrilled that he wanted to be a part of our fiesta,” said Manancero, director of the archdiocesan Office of Latino Ministry.

Then just weeks into his role as apostolic administrator, the archbishop presided at the August Mass for 3,500 people, and afterward congratulated Manancero for coordinating the liturgy and the picnic that followed.

She remembers thinking after the Mass that he had left. Hours later, he came to thank her and say goodbye. “He spent time with the people, with the children, getting to know them,” she said. “The families were very impressed with him. They took all kinds of pictures.”

She added: “I think the great gift he brings is his pastoral side, which shows in his personality. He is a blessing to our archdiocese — and he speaks Spanish!”

That interest in families is one thing Jean Stolpestad, director of the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life, hopes shines in Archbishop Hebda’s leadership.

“The family is the foundation of our society, and it is here that we learn to receive and give love,” she said. “I look forward to working with Archbishop Hebda to find ways in which we can support our parishes as they strive to strengthen the family and accompany them in the many complex realities they face.”

Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Church in the state, said the MCC staff “is very excited about serving in the vineyard” with Archbishop Hebda, who will assume the role of its board president.

“Already, Archbishop Hebda has shown us both a spirit of constructive engagement and what Pope Francis calls a ‘theology of encounter,’” Adkins said. “These qualities are essential for modeling faithful citizenship, as well as seizing the evangelical opportunities present within the public arena.

“Even more importantly, we hope Archbishop Hebda will continue to radiate joy in proposing the truths of the Gospel, even when they are unpopular. The proclamation of the joy of the Gospel will magnify the deeper reality that God
has created us out of love,” he said. “The Catholic Church holds and reveals that love, offering through her doctrine a message of true happiness.”

He added: “Such witness will undoubtedly inspire missionary disciples who help renew political life, and who understand, as Pope Francis reminds us, that ‘a good Catholic meddles in politics’ because it is ‘one of the highest forms of charity.’”

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Category: Welcome Archbishop Hebda