September 21, 2011

Most Reverend Daniel M. Buechlein, Archbishop of Indianapolis, granted early retirement by Pope Benedict XVI

Most Reverend Daniel M. BuechleinPope Benedict XVI has granted early retirement to the Most Reverend Daniel M. Buechlein, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The announcement was made today by the Vatican and is effective immediately.

Archbishop Buechlein has led the Archdiocese of Indianapolis since his appointment as archbishop by the late Pope John Paul II on July 14, 1992.

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the archdiocese’s auxiliary bishop, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Bishop Coyne will govern the archdiocese until a new archbishop is named.

Archbishop Buechlein, 73, requested the retirement earlier this year due to health issues resulting from a stroke he suffered on March 19, 2011. The normal retirement age for bishops is 75. The stroke was the latest in a series of health issues for Archbishop Buechlein in recent years including a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008, which required several months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

In his retirement, Archbishop Buechlein plans to return to southern Indiana to live at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and to rejoin the Benedictine community where he took a solemn profession as a Benedictine monk nearly 50 years ago.

“It has been a joy for me to serve as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for the past 20 years. I want to thank all of the clergy, religious, archdiocesan staff and lay people for the support you have given me over the years,” Archbishop Buechlein said. “You truly have been a blessing to me. With your help and the help of God we have been able to accomplish much.”

Highlights of Archbishop Buechlein’s Accomplishments as Archbishop of Indianapolis

  • Archbishop Buechlein was appointed the fifth Archbishop of Indianapolis on July 14, 1992 by the late Pope John Paul II and was officially installed as archbishop on September 9, 1992. During his episcopacy here, Archbishop Buechlein has worked tirelessly to strengthen the pastoral, spiritual and financial health of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
  • There are 40 priests in active ministry serving the archdiocese who were ordained by Archbishop Buechlein.

Under Archbishop Buechlein’s leadership the archdiocese:

  • Opened Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis in 2004 to prepare college seminarians for major seminary. The seminary has already reached its capacity of 35 seminarians and is looking to expand to meet the growing demand.
  • Established a Permanent Diaconate program and ordained 25 men as permanent deacons for the archdiocese.
  • Raised $300 million through the annual stewardship appeal and separate capital campaigns to pay for building projects and ministry needs throughout in the archdiocese. This figure is in excess of the contributions parishioners make through Sunday and Holy Day collections.
  • The Catholic Community Foundation, which oversees the archdiocese’s endowments, has grown from less than $5 million to its current value of nearly $170 million. The Catholic Community Foundation now manages nearly 400 endowments. Nearly $70 million from the endowments has been distributed to parishes, schools, and archdiocesan agencies for ministry.
  • After a series of significant budget deficits, the archdiocese has attained eight consecutive break-even budgets.
  • Expanded the services of Catholic Charities and social outreach ministries of the archdiocese. Last year, the archdiocese’s Catholic Charities agencies in central and southern Indiana served nearly 180,000 people. In 2009, after six years of planning and fundraising, the archdiocese opened a new 30,000-square-foot shelter for homeless families. The building named Holy Family Shelter is located next to Holy Trinity Church on the west side of Indianapolis.
  • The U.S. Department of Education has awarded 26 of the archdiocese’s Catholic schools as with Blue Ribbons in recognition of their excellence. The archdiocese’s schools have received more Blue Ribbons than any other diocese in the country.
  • Expanded the archdiocese’s ministry to young adults by starting a Theology on Tap program and adding new campus ministry programs.
  • Initiated the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Bishop Simon Bruté, the archdiocese’s first bishop.
  • Celebrated the 175th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis with a Mass at Lucas Oil Stadium, which was attended by more than 25,000 people.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis serves more than 225,000 Catholics in 151 parishes in 39 counties in central and southern Indiana. The archdiocese covers 13,757 square miles.


Video from this press conference can be found here.

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