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Friday, May 02, 2008

Welcome, Archbishop Nienstedt!

Today, my dear friend Ray forwarded me the official press release announcing the end of the reign of Archbishop Flynn, and the beginning for Archbishop Nienstedt.

Friday, May 2, 2008
It's Official: Archbishop John C. Nienstedt is the Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

FROM: The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
CONTACT: Dennis B. McGrath
Director of Communications



SAINT PAUL, MN, MAY 2, 2008 -- Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, 61, officially assumed the duties of Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today, following the retirement of Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, who has led the Archdiocese since February of 1995. Archbishop Flynn was notified by the Vatican that his resignation was official on May 2, his 75th birthday and the normal age of retirement for archbishops.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed then Bishop Nienstedt to the post of Coadjutor Archbishop on April 24th of last year. A coadjutor archbishop essentially serves in a familiarization role until the sitting archbishop retires. Nienstedt had served the prior six years as Bishop of New Ulm, Minnesota.

A native of Detroit, he was ordained in 1974 following studies at Sacred Heart Seminary there and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He served as associate pastor or pastor of numerous Detroit area parishes and as rector of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. In June of 1994, he was named an Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit by Pope John Paul II. He served as bishop for the Dearborn, Downriver, Monroe, Northwest Wayne, Southland and Western Wayne Vicariates, before becoming Bishop of New Ulm in 2001.

“I am grateful to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, for his confidence in naming me Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis,” Archbishop Nienstedt said. “It is a tremendous responsibility for pastoring the people of God now assigned to my care. I ask for the prayerful support of both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Ever since our new Archbishop was named Co-Adjutor, faithful Catholics have rejoiced, while those ascribing to the plague of Modernism have villified him, sight unseen. There were dire predictions about him from the latter crowd, which in many ways paralleled the reaction of the same crowd to the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Even the reaction of the media and non-Catholics has been negative towards this man, who has proven in his year with us that he is faithful and he is a true Shepherd. He is fair, he is pastoral, and truly, he will not waver on the teachings of faith and morals. The modernists indeed have something to fear...time to put the crystals away!

I have not met the new Archbishop, although I have been glued to his writings and responses to the hot-topic crowds, demanding that he acquiesce to their own definition of "dialogue". I have been present in meetings, the only "conservative" (I hate that term) Catholic in a crowd of "liberals" (I hate that term, too), as they advanced crazy rumors. What shocked me was that many in this group had met him and had a very positive experience and impression of him. But they were fearful that their pet projects would be taken away. (And right they should fear if their projects are against Catholic teaching!)

One of the funniest rumors I heard though, I just can't help but share: someone had heard that our new Archbishop is going to forbid women to teach religion.

I nearly snorted coffee out my nose on THAT one! And indeed, I broke out laughing at the sheer stupidity! When I finally could respond, wiping the tears from my eyes, I said that such an idea is pure idiocy; Archbishop Neinstedt is no fool, and there is no Church document in existance upon which he would base such a move.

I DID say that he would be within his rights (and ours!) to reinstate male-only altar servers. And this is quite possible, although I doubt he would do such a thing immediately. He has stated and has proven that he is not interested in making mass changes - rather, he is working to get to know his people, and in my opinion, he is going about things very wisely.

I did not tell the crowd of liberals around me that I would fully support the institution of male-only altar servers. I'd be first in line to applaud such an action! I feared they would lynch me and I wouldn't be able to finish my coffee before going to my martyrdom.

As I said, I've not met the new Archbishop, but I have nothing but a sense of trust in his leadership, and hope to one day have the opportunity to meet him.

GOD BLESS HIM and THANK YOU, POPE BENEDICT XVI for appointing him as our new Archbishop! Please keep him in your prayers!

Archbiship Emeritus Harry Flynn

I HAVE met our now Archbishop Emeritus on a few occasions, and also have nothing but good feelings toward him. He was a good Shepherd to us, and now he can follow his true gift; his Pastoral heart. Archbishp Flynn took a LOT of flack for his actions while he's been our leader, and I'll never say he didn't make mistakes. Public ones. But I do believe his heart was in the right place, he did what he felt best at the time, and I do believe he learned from his own mistakes. He is human, and we can't fault him for his humanity. Especially when we would have been as likely or MORE likely to make the same mistakes, or worse ones, if we were in the same boat.

Archbishop Flynn has a heart for the individual, and went about his work in that manner. I don't believe he was an Administrator; that wasn't his gift. And he saw his ministry in the way that Jesus saw His own; to reach out to each soul. Through Archbishop Flynn's actions, our seminary has turned around, Perpetual Adoration chapels have flourished, and countless people can testify to his personal touch in reaching out to them in profound moments in their lives. He was an Archbishop who never stopped being a parish priest.

I met him a couple years ago when my Pastor was installed at my parish. At the time, a bunch of crazy baby-boomer women were going around the deaneries and having "Listening Sessions" at various Modernist parishes, ostensibly to provide a study on women's perspectives on their role in the Church. I was not able to attend any of them. The "research" wasn't done by the time the Bishop came to my parish, and when I greeted him, I asked for a moment of his time. I told him that he was going to be getting a file of flawed research that was NOT representative of how women really feel about the Church. I explained that as a woman, I have found the Church to be the last sanctuary, the ONLY sanctuary, and the ONLY place I can go to be the woman God wants me to be. We aren't seeking to be priests...we are seeking to be like Mary, we are seeking to be holy women according to her example, and I wanted him to know that this is the prevailing view that he would not receive with that file.

I thanked him for our priests at my parish (we love them!), and for his time, and I started to go...but he wouldn't let go of my hand. Archbishop Flynn looked me right in the eyes and discussed the situation with me even further. He didn't just nod and smile like a politician and thank me for my opinion...what we discussed was a real conversation, even though it was brief, and since that day, I have been thanking God for such a man as our leader. Maybe he didn't seem to act in ways people thought he should, but I guarantee you that his personal efforts have brought a great number of individuals to embrace a life of personal holiness which is hugely contributing to the authentic Spirit of our community.

God bless Archbishop Flynn, Thank you for your service! Please always remember him in your prayers.

NOTE: For those interested, Father Valenchek has an awesome post on the proper response to our Bishops, well worth reading for everyone!


Anonymous said...

I'm telling you... you gotta move to Lincoln!!!!! You would be soooo at home.
-you know who

Adoro te Devote said...

Yeah, but it's really hot and humid there in the summer, and there are no hills for skiing...

uncle jim said...

glad you got your new archbishop - bio sounds like he is a good choice.

I took permanent deacon formation classes at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit in 1978-79 then my job transferred me to IN - to a diocese which was not using permanent deacons yet and had no formation program for them at that time.

Kevin said...

The new archbishop was the celebrant at the Sunday 11am Mass at the Church of St Joseph in WSP. I noticed our best male servers served the Mass. The Archbishop also has a fine singing voice. He sings several parts* of the Mass. (*parts - a highly technical, liturgical term.)

Adoro te Devote said...

Kevin ~ I've heard that about him, and looking forward to attending his Mass...sometime.