Boston auxiliary bishop, former UST theology prof, retires

| July 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Auxiliary Bishop Arthur Kennedy of Boston is seen at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in this 2010 file photo. Pope Francis accepted his resignation June 30. Bishop Kennedy is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation. CNS photo/ Gregory L. Tracy, Pilot

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Arthur Kennedy of Boston.

Bishop Kennedy, the Boston Archdiocese’s episcopal vicar for the new evangelization, turned 75 Jan. 9. Canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation at age 75.

His resignation was announced in Washington June 30 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Pope Benedict XVI named then-Father Kennedy an auxiliary bishop for Boston June 30, 2010. He was ordained a bishop Sept. 14, 2010. He chose as his episcopal motto “Ut cognoscant te,” meaning, “So that they may know you.”

At the time he was named a bishop, Father Kennedy was rector of St. John Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts. From the time he took that post in 2007 to his episcopal appointment in 2010, the size of the seminary community quadrupled from 20 to 80. After being ordained an auxiliary bishop, he remained rector for two more years.

From 2002 to 2005, he headed the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in Washington. He was a theology professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, when he was appointed to the post.

He also was director of the ecumenical and interreligious office in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from 1985 to 2000.

Born in Boston Jan. 9, 1942, and ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston Dec. 17, 1966, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, then-Father Kennedy held various parish posts before earning a doctorate in systematic theology and philosophy of religion from Boston University in 1978. He also has a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

For almost 33 years, he served in various faculty positions at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He was first an assistant professor, 1974-1983, when it was known as the College of St. Thomas. He then became an associate professor, 1983-1997. He was named the university’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year in 1994.

He was director of the master of arts in theology program at the archdiocesan seminary in St. Paul between 1993 and 1998.

In 2000, he was a visiting professor of theology at Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, known as the Angelicum. In 2001, he returned to the University of St. Thomas as a full professor.

In ecumenical matters, Bishop Kennedy has been chair of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis’ Commission on Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs; co-chair of the Lutheran Catholic Covenant Commission; co-chair and convener of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Bishops annual retreat; co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Covenant Commission; co-chair of the Evangelical-Catholic Pastors’ Conversations; an official observer to the Minnesota Council of Churches; and a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Diocesan Ecumenical Officers.

He is a former board member of the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at the University of St. Thomas. Bishop Kennedy also has written and co-written works in the ecumenical field.

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