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Bishop, Bishop Archbishop

It has always seemed a bit ironic that many of the mileposts in Indiana Catholic History always seem to happen at nearly the same time. This is true again with this past and coming week being a time for Bishops…

Last Friday, January 10th was the 22nd anniversary of the death of Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara. Born in Saint Louis and ordained by our own Archbishop Ritter, O’Meara served the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for about 13 years as Archbishop.

I’ll repeat the New York Times obituary which ran on January 11, 1992:

INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 11 – Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara, who headed Catholic relief efforts for war and disaster victims around the world, died Friday at his home here. He was 70 years old.

Archbishop O’Meara, the spiritual leader of the 200,000 Roman Catholics in the Indianapolis Archdiocese, was found last summer to be suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease.

The illness led him to resign in September as president and chairman of Catholic Relief Services, an agency in Baltimore that was created to help refugees during World War II and was expanded to a worldwide relief organization. Last year it distributed $230 million in aid to 74 countries.

He was elected to the first board of directors of Catholic Relief Services in the 1970″²s and became the agency’s president in 1987. Son of Irish Immigrants

Archbishop O’Meara, who headed a 39-county archdiocese that covers most of the southern half of Indiana, traditionally delivered the invocation before the Indianapolis 500 automobile race.

The son of Irish immigrants, he was born in St. Louis on Aug. 3, 1921, and was ordained there in 1946. He attended Kendrick Seminary in St. Louis and in 1952 earned a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

He was named auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1972 and was installed as the fourth Archbishop of Indianapolis in 1980. He died 12 years to the day after his installation.

In an interview shortly after his installment, Archbishop O’Meara said his affinity for the Catholic Church was rooted in his childhood.”I can never remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to it,” he said.”I liked to be around the priests. I liked what they did. I admired their wholesome life.”

Archbishop O’Meara left no immediate survivors.

It was just three short years ago, January 14th that Bishop Christopher Coyne was named as Auxiliary Bishop of Indianapolis. It was historic in that we have not had an Auxiliary since 1933 when Joseph Elmer Ritter was named Auxiliary. Here is the story as it appeared in 2011:

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.

“œI 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.

“œI 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.

Also on January 14th, in 1849, the Right Rev. Jacques M. Maurice Landes d’Aussac de Saint-Palais, known to everyone simply as Bishop Saint-Palais, was consecrated as Bishop of Vincennes in the Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier in Vincennes.

Born at LaSalvetat, France, on November 15, 1811. St. Palais was ordained a priest at Paris, May 28, 1836. He was Administrator of the diocese after the death of Bishop Bazin and named Bishop of Vincennes, October 3, 1848. He was consecrated by Bishop Pius Miles, OP, of Nashville, assisted by Coadjutor Bishop Martin John Spalding of Louisville and Very Reverend Hippolyte Du Pontavice, vicar general of Vincennes. Died at St. Mary-of-the-Woods, June 28, 1877. His body is interred in the Old Cathedral, Vincennes.


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