New apostolic administrator brings wide pastoral experience to new role

| June 15, 2015 | 0 Comments
Archbishop Bernard Hebda, coadjutor archbishop of Newark, has been named apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Courtesy the Archdiocese of Newark.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda, coadjutor archbishop of Newark, has been named apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Courtesy the Archdiocese of Newark.

The archbishop appointed by Pope Francis to oversee the governance of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis until a new ordinary is named has an impressive background, a collaborative style of leadership and “is always looking to bring people into the conversation,” a spokesman from the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, told The Catholic Spirit.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda, 55, coadjutor archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and now apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis upon Pope Francis’ acceptance of the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt, is Harvard-educated and a Columbia Law School graduate who worked as an attorney for a year before entering the seminary.

A native of Pittsburgh, he studied there and in Rome before being ordained for his home diocese in 1989. As a priest he ministered in parishes, a college and the chancery for six years before being recalled to Rome for seven years to serve on the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

In 2009 he was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, which covers the top one-third of lower Michigan.

In 2013 he was named coadjutor to Archbishop John Myers in Newark, which, like the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has had to address issues of clergy sexual misconduct.

As coadjutor in the northern New Jersey archdiocese, one of the countries’ ten largest, Archbishop Hebda would automatically succeed Archbishop Myers upon his retirement or death.

As apostolic administrator of St. Paul and Minneapolis he has the typical responsibilities of the ordinary of a diocese until a new archbishop is appointed.

In a letter to Catholics in the archdiocese, Archbishop Hebda said he was humbled by his appointment to St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“Mindful of Pope Francis’ challenge to bishops to be true shepherds who walk in the midst of the flock to the point to developing ‘ears open to listening to the voice of the sheep entrusted in their care,’ it is my intention to be as available as possible, while still fulfilling my responsibilities as the coadjutor of Newark,” he wrote.

He added:  “As the universal Church prepares to embark on a Year of Mercy, I look forward to getting to know this local Church and experiencing in a new context the marvelous ways in which the Lord works through his people to make his grace and healing presence known and felt, even in the most challenging of times.”

Earned respect

In the two years Archbishop Hebda has served in New Jersey he has been “extremely active,” according to James Goodness, vice chancellor and director of communications and public relations for the Newark archdiocese.

He’s been working on the revamping of the Catholic elementary school and parish religious education programs, evangelization and development, Goodness said.

“Those of us who have worked with him over these past two years have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for him,” he added. “Everyone in St. Paul-Minneapolis is going to find him someone who is looking out for the best interests of the people.”

Archbishop Hebda last week was elected chairman-elect of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance by his fellow bishops at the spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in St. Louis.

 

Tags: , , ,

Category: Local News