January 14, 2011

Pope Benedict appoints Father Christopher J. Coyne of Boston auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Father Christopher J. Coyne, a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston, as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The Holy See made the announcement today in Rome.

Bishop-designate Coyne, 52, is a native of Woburn, Mass., a northern suburb of Boston. Father Coyne is currently pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Westwood, Mass. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston on June 7, 1986.

Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B, will ordain the new auxiliary bishop during a Mass of Episcopal Ordination on March 2 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis. Details of the Mass are pending.

As auxiliary bishop, Bishop-designate Coyne will assist Archbishop Buechlein in serving the sacramental, spiritual and pastoral needs of the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

 “I am grateful to the Holy Father. I consider this a late Christmas gift,” said Archbishop Buechlein. “As most of you know I’ve had some health issues in recent years, including a bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008 and that has curtailed some of my activities. Bishop-designate Coyne is a young 52. I’m 72. I’m looking forward to the energy he will bring to helping us carry out our mission.”

Bishop-designate Coyne thanked Pope Benedict for appointing him auxiliary bishop and said he was humbled by the appointment.

“I thank Archbishop Buechlein for this opportunity to assist him here in his ministry as chief shepherd of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis,” Bishop-designate Coyne said. “I look forward to working with the clergy, the religious and laity of the archdiocese and furthering the mission of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Bishop-designate Coyne said that he has a lot to learn about central and southern Indiana and about being a bishop.

“I need to learn how to be a bishop, a good bishop for the faithful and the clergy of this great archdiocese,” he said. “I pledge myself today to the service of God’s people here in (the archdiocese) and I hope over time to become a true son of Indiana. Please know that my prayers are for you and I ask only the same in return.”

Archbishop Buechlein said Bishop-designate Coyne brings a wealth of experience to the archdiocese.

Bishop-designate Coyne holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Lowell in Lowell, Mass., a master’s of divinity from St. John Seminary in Brighton, Mass., and a licentiate and a doctorate in liturgy from the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (St. Anselmo) in Rome.

Bishop-designate Coyne served as parochial vicar of St. Mary of the Hills in Milton, Mass., before pursuing his studies in Rome. He served on the faculty of St. John Seminary in Brighton from 1995-2002 and was spokesperson fro the Archdiocese of Boston from 2002-05. He served as pastor of Our Lady of Help of Christians in Newton, Massachusetts, from 2005-2006 and is currently pastor of St. Margaret Mary in Westwood, Mass.

Bishop-designate Coyne said his nearly 25 years of priestly ministry and the challenges he faced as spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston in answering questions about the clergy sex abuse scandal taught him of the “need to listen to what is being said with an open heart and an open mind.”

Bishop-designate Coyne is the first auxiliary bishop to be appointed for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis since Father Joseph Elmer Ritter was appointed on Feb. 3, 1933. He became Bishop of Indianapolis the next year and was the first Archbishop of Indianapolis. Bishop Ritter was transferred to the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1946 where he was later elevated to Cardinal.

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.


(Click here for more coverage and photos of the appointment of Bishop-designate Christopher J. Coyne)

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