POPE FRANCIS NAMES BISHOP CHRISTOPHER J. COYNE TO LEAD VERMONT’S CATHOLICS
BURLINGTON – At 6 a.m. Vermont time today – 12 p.m. Noon at the Vatican – Pope Francis appointed The Most Reverend Christopher James Coyne (@bishopcoyne), until now Auxiliary Bishop of Indianapolis, as Tenth Bishop of Burlington.
A Boston native, Bishop Coyne will formally be installed as pastor of Vermont’s 118,000 Catholics on Thursday, January 29, 2015, at 2:00 PM, with a Solemn Mass of Installation in Saint Joseph Co-Cathedral. The Pope’s ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, will be in attendance as the Holy Father’s personal representative.
“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,” Bishop Coyne said.
The Catholic Church’s first blogging priest to become a bishop on his appointment by then-Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, Coyne is an internationally cited leader in the Faith’s “digital revolution.” Having kept a dedicated daily presence on both Facebook and Twitter to a current 10,000 followers, as well as producing a regular podcast, the bishop’s outreach has been featured on NBC’s Today Show and in the nationally broadcast coverage of the Indianapolis 500, at which he delivered the pre-race Invocation for the last three years. In November 2014, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops elected Bishop Coyne as the next chairman of the national church’s communications efforts, a three-year mandate which begins in 2015.
The middle of seven children born to a postal worker and parish secretary in Woburn, Mass., after graduating from the University of Lowell and working two years as a full-time bartender, Bishop Coyne attended seminary for five years and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston on June 7, 1986. While ministering in parishes for most of his years in Massachusetts, Bishop Chris additionally spent twelve years serving as a professor of liturgy at St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, and a number of years as the Archdiocesan Director of Worship and later Secretary for Communications.
From 2006 until his appointment to Indianapolis, Coyne was pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Westwood, Mass. He received his Doctorate in Sacred Liturgy from the Pontifical Athanaeum of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome in 1994.
Slated to preside at the Installation Mass as Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of Boston is Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap.
(Editors’ Note: By appointment of Pope Francis, Cardinal Seán is the North American member of the “C-9” – the international group of nine cardinals advising the Holy Father on the reform of the Vatican and his daily governance of the Catholic Church. As Archbishop of Boston, the cardinal is the ceremonial overseer of the dioceses of New England.)
Bishop Coyne said, “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 her in Vermont.”
Monsignor John J. McDermott, who has been serving as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Burlington since January 3, 2014, 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.”
The Diocese of Burlington was established on July 29, 1853. Comprising all of Vermont across its 73 parishes, the People of God in the Green Mountain State are served by 75 Diocesan priests, 40 religious order priests, 43 permanent deacons, 86 women religious (i.e. Sisters/Nuns), and 32 educational and charitable institutions.
Bishop Coyne will be introduced at a press conference at the Diocesan Offices, located at 55 Joy Drive, South Burlington, today, Monday December 22, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. The media are cordially invited to attend and are asked to please arrive between 10:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.