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11 things to know about Archbishop Hebda

July 7, 2015

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Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of Newark, N.J., and a priest pose for a photo Nov. 5, 2013, following a Mass of welcome for Archbishop Hebda at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. CNS

Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of Newark, N.J., and a priest pose for a photo Nov. 5, 2013, following a Mass of welcome for Archbishop Hebda at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. CNS

After two quick trips to the Twin Cities since his June 15 appointment, Archbishop Bernard Hebda is spending his first full week in Minnesota. He plans to say the 10 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul July 12 — which can be heard on Relevant Radio 1330. Here are 11 things to know about our new apostolic administrator.

  1. His last name is Polish. His paternal grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from southeast Poland. “Hebda” was also a common last name of people who lived near the medieval Norbertine Monastery of Our Lady of the Assumption in Hebdów, in southern Poland near Krakow. Hopefully his first tour of the archdiocese includes a stop at Holy Cross and lunch from Sikora’s in Nordeast.
  1. He’s an ivy leaguer. Archbishop Hebda studied political science at Harvard and law at Columbia, both ivy league schools. As an undergraduate, he was on staff of the Harvard International Review, a publication of the Harvard International Relations Council, and was an editorial board member and articles editor for the Harvard Yearbook. It was while he was attending daily Mass at Columbia that he rediscovered an interest in the priesthood he first had as a child.
  1. He’s steeped in the law. He earned a degree in civil law from Columbia and practiced in a law firm for a year before joining seminary in 1984. Six years later, he earned a licentiate in canon law from the Pontificial Gregorian University in Rome. From 1992 to 1996, he served as a judge for Diocese of Pittburgh’s tribunal, which deals with canon law matters including marriage annulments. In 1996, he returned to Rome to serve on the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, which interprets Church law, being named in 2003 its undersecretary, or third-ranking official. He left the position in 2009 to serve as the fourth bishop of Gaylord, Michigan.
  1. He loves Cardinal Newman and the Missionaries of Charity. For his coat of arms, Archbishop Hebda chose the motto “Only Jesus,” a phrase based on the Gospel of Mark, chapter 9. According to an explanation of his coat’s heraldry, the motto was inspired by a prayer written by Cardinal John Henry Newman, whom Archbishop Hebda admires. The prayer is prayed daily by the Missionaries of Charity, as was the practice of their foundress, Blessed Teresa of Kolkata. While he was working for the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in Rome, Archbishop Hebda served as a confessor for the Missionaries of Charity postulants and their sisters who worked in a home for unwed mothers. The sisters made a deep impression. The archbishop chose the motto as a reminder of their “exemplary humility, obedience and fidelity” and “that the episcopal ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing is ultimately to lead the faithful to an encounter with Christ himself.”
  1. He also loves the Capuchin Franciscans. In an interview published in the November 2013 edition of The Catholic Advocate in Newark, he attributed his priestly vocation in part to a vocations club the Capuchin Franciscans ran in his Catholic grade school. He wanted to go to their seminary after high school, but they steered him to Harvard instead.
  1. He has a devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary. Archbishop Hebda was named a bishop on Oct. 7, 2009, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, to whom he entrusted his ministry as a bishop.
  1. He does the electric slide. Or so says Rocco Palmo, the uncannily observant Philadelphia-based Church chronicler at his blog, “Whispers in the Loggia.”
  1. He’s one of seven sitting bishops who call Steel City home. The others are Bishop Paul Bradley of Kalamazoo, Michigan; Bishop Edward Burns of Juneau, Alaska; Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston; Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit; Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island; and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. In seminary, Archbishop Hebda studied one year under Cardinal DiNardo, then a patristics scholar at the St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh.
  1. He’s done urban and rural ministry. The Diocese of Gaylord is small and rural, and Newark, well, is not. The Diocese of Gaylord covers 21 counties of Michigan’s northern lower peninsula and includes about 66,000 Catholics with 80 parishes. The Archdiocese of Newark covers four counties, more than 1.3 million Catholics, and about 220 parishes.
  1. He loved his mom’s cooking. He told The Catholic Advocate, “Nothing compares with my mom’s pierogi or potato pancakes. Now that my Mom has gone to God, there’s nothing that I would prefer to a plate of carbonara. After 18 years in Rome, I love anything Italian.”
  1. His friends call him “Bernie.”
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This Sunday at the Cathedral of Saint Paul – Cherubic faces. Angelic voices. Heavenly Music.

December 16, 2011


Cathedral Youth Choir will sing Ceremony of Carols

This Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m. the Saint Cecilia Choristers of the Cathedral Choir School of Minnesota present Benjamin Britten’s innocent and beloved Ceremony of Carols with harp accompaniment. The work opens and closes with the choristers processing by candlelight singing the ancient Gregorian chant, Hodie Christus natus est! The Cathedral is located at 239 Selby Avenue, at the corners of Summit Ave. and John Ireland Blvd. There is no cost for the concert; however, a suggested donation of $15 is welcome and appreciated.

Britten’s Ceremony of Carols is a masterpiece composed while on board a ship during a perilous five-week crossing of the North Atlantic. The year was 1942 and World War II was at its height as Britten was returning to England from the U.S.A., explains Robert Ridgell, Director of Sacred Music for the Cathedral of Saint Paul. “It is an unusual setting for treble voices and harp, and the ‘carols’ are largely the product of 15th and 16th century writers, mostly anonymous. The work opens and closes with the youth choir processing by candlelight singing to plainsong, the Hodie chant sung for centuries at Vespers on Christmas Eve. The carol settings in-between deal with the traditional stories surrounding the birth of Christ,” adds Ridgell.

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Where are the men in the Church?

February 25, 2011


The following was written by Bill Dill, who is in the Office of Marriage, Family and Life for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Where are the men in the Church? On Saturday, March 12th many Catholic men will be filling the Cathedral of St. Paul under the leadership of Archbishop John Nienstedt. On Saturdays men might be found doing a variety of things – some more noble than others. I believe that God is calling thousands of men to come to the Cathedral that day to worship Him, to be fed, to be healed, to be inspired and to inspire and to stand up as a witness to love of God. God calls us every day to be near to Him and to receive His love. He also calls us to go out and bring other men to Himself. In last week’s gospel, Jesus called us to be the salt of the earth. Salt in the wound doesn’t feel very good, but it does heal. I’d like to encourage you to be salt to every man you know. Invite them to this year’s men’s conference.

We have a great line up of speakers. Archbishop Nienstedt will address us regarding the important role of men in the Church. Dr. John Buri is a professor of psychology at the University of St. Thomas and author of “How to Love Your Wife”. Beside his professional training and experience Dr. Buri has years of experience leading men in their path toward holiness and in particular in being the man their wife needs them to be. David Rinaldi spend several years as an Air Force pilot before giving up this career to serve as program director for NET Ministries. One of his primary responsibilities is forming young men and women into mature Christian disciples who are truly ready to give one year of their life to bring Christ to high school and junior high students. Both of these men will talk about what they see in today’s men – their struggles, their weaknesses and their strengths. More importantly they will talk about how to become the men that God is calling us to be and that the Church needs us to be. They will also be addressing how we can serve in the formation of other men in our lives. What’s the goal? How can we reach it? What do I have for support?

The new chaplain for the Archdiocesan men’s apostolate, Fr. Bill Baer, will also be speaking. Fr. Baer has a great gift for public speaking and particularly in the realm of encouragement. Once the mission is set before us, he will gives the motivation to pursue it with all of our will. We will also hear briefly from Minnesota Wild favorite Wes Walz. Though most don’t it, Wes is a very devoted Catholic man. He’ll talk to us a bit about being a Catholic  man and a hockey player.

The Archdiocese has been sponsoring men’s events for 10 years now. This year, however, is the first year a men’s conference will be held at the Cathedral itself. After every event we have sponsor, we hear, “This was great! Why weren’t there more men here?” This year, I hope the answer to that question is, “ There just wasn’t any more room.”?

Click here for more information on the event.

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Sequel to novel on building of cathedral depicts life two centuries later

January 23, 2009


“World Without End,”
by Ken Follett

I loved “The Pillars of the Earth,” Ken Follett’s epic that delivered readers back to the 12th century to meet the people who built a great fictional English cathedral. It was a great story of achievement, of overcoming obstacles — human and stone — and of hope’s triumph.
“World Without End” picks up the story two centuries later, delivering us to that same cathedral, now in need of repairs after two hundred years of storms.

And the characters that populate the medieval cathedral town are just as interesting and compelling in the sequel as were their ancestors in the original story, which is why this was at the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

It’s a bawdy tale, I must warn you, and a gory one. Some sexual scenes are very, very explicit, and the violence is bloody, but not “chainsaw-massacre” stupid.

Remember, it’s fiction

Catholics who read “World Without End” will have to keep in mind the fictional nature of this book, because elements of the Church of Rome play the black hat roles in many cases. Bishops, priests and nuns do things in the novel that we would hope bishops, priests and nuns don’t do. I don’t think modern-day readers can deny that incidents described in Follett’s novel never happened in reality; some of the more contemporary sins by church people would be pretty good evidence that there is at least a possibility that 14th century clergy and religious were not immune from such sin.

For the most part, though, offenses of the moral kind are not held up to be celebrated; rather, the protagonists stand for what is good and right and moral despite displaying their humanity, sins and all.

It’s a huge novel — 1,014 pages in New American Library’s paperback version — and every bit a great read. — bz
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