December 22, 2014

Bishop Coyne appointed to lead Diocese of Burlington, Vermont

(Related: See a photo gallery of Bishop Coyne's time in Indiana)

Auxiliary Bishop Christopher J. CoyneCriterion staff report

Pope Francis has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Christopher J. Coyne as bishop of Burlington, Vt.

The appointment was announced on Dec. 22 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Coyne replaces Bishop Salvatore R. Matano, who was appointed to lead the Diocese of Rochester, N.Y., in November of 2013.

On the day of the announcement, Bishop Coyne was introduced at a press conference in Burlington where he had traveled to meet with diocesan staff and members of the local media.

(Related: Statement of Bishop Coyne | Statement of Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin)

Bishop Coyne, 56, has been an auxiliary bishop in Indianapolis since 2011 and was vicar general, and most recently served in episcopal ministry and assisted in special responsibilities in the New Albany, Seymour and Tell City deaneries and as administrator of Sacred Heart and St. Augustine parishes in Jeffersonville.

Burlington’s new bishop will be installed during a 2 p.m. Mass on Jan. 29, 2015, at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.

“While I am delighted for Bishop Coyne and the diocese that has been entrusted to his pastoral care, I shall miss his companionship and personal gifts,” said Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin. “I know that all the members of the archdiocese join me in thanking God for his unselfish labor as archdiocesan administrator and auxiliary bishop.”

In a statement, Bishop Coyne said, “I am grateful to Pope Francis for his confidence in me in appointing me to Burlington. Personally, I could not be happier to be assigned here and look forward to returning to my native New England.”

He added, “While I will miss the great people of Indiana and all of my friends there, I am ready to commit myself fully to the work of the Catholic Church here in Vermont.”

Msgr. John J. McDermott, who has been serving as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Burlington since January, noted, “The priests, religious and laity of the Diocese of Burlington have been praying all year for this announcement.  We are grateful to Pope Francis for sending us Bishop Coyne, a shepherd with such a wealth of experience and a commitment to proclaiming joyfully the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Pope Benedict XVI appointed then-Father Coyne as an auxiliary bishop for Indianapolis on Jan. 14, 2011. Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein ordained him a bishop on March 2 of that year. Bishop Coyne was the first auxiliary bishop for the Church in central and southern Indiana since 1933.

Bishop Coyne dedicated much of his time to administrative ministry in Indianapolis after Archbishop Buechlein suffered a stroke and was granted an early retirement in the fall of 2011.

Born on June 17, 1958, in Woburn, Mass., Bishop Coyne was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston on June 7, 1986. He holds a bachelor’s from the University of Lowell in Lowell, Mass., a master’s of divinity from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass., and a licentiate and a doctorate in liturgy from the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Rome’s St. Anselm University.

He was parochial vicar of St. Mary of the Hills in Milton, Mass., before pursuing his studies in Rome. He also has been pastor of Our Lady of Help of Christians in Newton, Mass. From 2006 until his appointment to Indianapolis, he was pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Westwood, Mass.

During his time as a priest in Boston, he also was a professor of liturgy and homiletics, the director of Office of Worship and spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Boston.

A renowned communicator who has a strong commitment to social media, Bishop Coyne was elected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as the next chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Communications, a three-year mandate which begins in 2015.

Established in 1853, the Diocese of Burlington is home to 118,000 Catholics and comprises the entire state of Vermont. It has 73 parishes. There are 75 diocesan priests, 40 religious order priests, 43 permanent deacons and 86 women religious who minister in the diocese.†

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