Pope Francis last Tuesday appointed Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, who had been serving as Bishop of Gaylord, in northern Michigan, as Coadjutor Archbishop of Newark.
As coadjutor, Archbishop Hebda “possesses the right of succession” in
the Archdiocese of Newark, according to canon law. This means he will be
automatically appointed Archbishop of Newark upon the retirement of the
incumbent, Archbishop John J. Myers, who is now 72.
“Today’s news that the Holy Father has named me the Coadjutor Archbishop
of Newark brings with it the sadness of having to leave the Diocese of
Gaylord,” Archbishop Hebda wrote in a Sept. 24 letter to the people of
the Diocese of Gaylord.
“I have come to consider this local Church my home and will find it
difficult to leave so many faith-filled parishes, schools and friends.
Anything that I know about being a bishop I learned from you – and for
that I will be always thankful.”
In his farewell to the Gaylord diocese, Archbishop Hebda added that he
is “confident” that Pope Francis “will soon bless the Diocese of Gaylord
with precisely the Shepherd that you need.”
“As I take up my responsibilities in Newark, I would ask that you
occasionally remember to pray that I might joyfully serve the Lord in
that radically different setting. You can be sure that you will always
be remembered in mine.”
Archbishop Hebda was born in Pittsburgh in 1959, and studied
international affairs at Harvard and received a law degree from Columbia
University in 1983. He practiced law briefly, before entering seminary
for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
He attended Saint Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh and then the North
American College in Rome, and was ordained a priest in 1989. The
following year he completed a licentiate in canon law.
As a priest of the Pittsburgh diocese, Archbishop Hebda served in
several parishes, in campus ministry, and in the tribunal. In 1996, he
was appointed to work at the Holy See for the Pontifical Council for
Legislative Texts, which interprets canon law; he served there until his
2009 appointment as Bishop of Gaylord.
Other appointments made by Pope Francis are: Bishop Raúl Martín to
the Diocese of Santa Rosa, in Argentina; Bishop Pietro Fragnelli to the
Diocese of Trapani, in Italy.
Also, the presidents and secretaries of
the Pontifical Councils for the Laity and of Justice and Peace were
confirmed in their positions.