A warm welcome to Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt

As you probably have heard, Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday named Bishop John Nienstedt of New Ulm to be the coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

He will assist Archbishop Harry Flynn and eventually succeed him as spiritual leader of the archdiocese and as ex-officio chair of the boards of St. Thomas, the St. Paul Seminary and St. John Vianney Seminary. Bishops generally retire at age 75, and Archbishop Flynn will be 74 on May 2.

I met with Coadjutor Archbishop Nienstedt on Tuesday and look forward to working closely with him in the years ahead. I know that we will develop the same collaborative relationship that has characterized my work with Archbishop Flynn since 1995 and with his predecessor, the late Archbishop John Roach.

Coadjutor Archbishop Nienstedt has been bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm since 2001 and served the previous five years as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit. Other positions have included pastorates in Michigan, rector and president of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and vicar general of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He serves on the board of the St. Paul Seminary.

A native of New York, his degrees include a bachelor of arts from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, a bachelor of sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and a licentiate and doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Institute of St. Alphonsus in Rome. He was ordained a priest in 1974.

Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt

I am especially pleased that Coadjutor Archbishop Nienstedt says he intends to continue Archbishop Flynn’s legacy of pastoral care, of working closely with seminarians and priests, and of taking an active role in supporting the poor and less fortunate.

For more information on Coadjutor Archbishop Nienstedt, please see www.dnu.org/bishop.

As we welcome our next archbishop, we also must offer our gratitude to Archbishop Flynn, who has been vitally engaged in the life of the university and the two seminaries over the last 12 years.

He has a regular presence on our campus, whether it is for board meetings, to meet with faculty members or to serve on a task force that wrote a new mission statement for the university in 2004. His eagerness to be involved in the work of that task force greatly impressed me and was proof positive of how much he cares for this university.

Over the course of the next year, please join me both in welcoming Coadjutor Archbishop Nienstedt and in thanking Archbishop Flynn for his splendid leadership.