Lone auxiliary: Bishops’ resignations ‘a painful process’ but ‘an opportunity for greater healing’

| June 15, 2015 | 3 Comments
WEB Press conference with Bishop Cozzens

Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis addresses the media outside the chancery June 15 as he announces the resignations of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Bishop Lee Piché, the other auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

“This has been a painful process,” said Bishop Andrew Cozzens at a June 15 press conference formally announcing that Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Bishop Lee Piché.

“A change in leadership provides us with an opportunity for greater healing and the ability to move forward. We will continue to do all we can to create safe environments for all children and to bring just resolution to the claims against the archdiocese.”

Standing before the chancery offices near the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Bishop Cozzens also confirmed the appointment of Archbishop Bernard Hebda, coadjutor archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, as the apostolic administrator of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Archbishop Hebda will retain his duties in Newark, and will serve as the official leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis until the Holy See appoints a permanent archbishop.

Bishop Cozzens, ordained in December 2013 and now the only auxiliary bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, asked for “prayers for the healing of our archdiocese and most especially for the healing of all victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse.”

He thanked members of the media for their patience as they await more information.

“There will be many unanswered questions as we take this significant transitional step to new leadership,” he said. “I pledge personally that Archbishop Hebda and I will work closely to bring our archdiocese into a new day so that the work of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which we have done here for almost 165 years, may continue.”

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