Nine months ago today; and some changes for the future
Nine months ago today, on September 8, I was installed as Archbishop of Philadelphia. The months since then have seen a stream of challenges. Some of those challenges will be with us for months to come, and we have many problems yet to resolve. But it’s also true that a great deal of good has been accomplished since last summer. We need to take confidence not only in God’s love but in the many talented people, resources and opportunities God is steadily providing to us for rebuilding the life of our Church over the next decade. I’ve been very moved by the dedication of our clergy, religious and laypeople, and all of the kindness shown to me. These things have been a great experience of grace.
Yesterday the priests of the Archdiocese learned some news that I’d like to share with all our people. Several months ago Father Shaun Mahoney, rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, approached me privately and expressed his thanks for the privilege of serving as rector. But he also shared his feeling that he had accomplished all he could in that ministry. He asked for a new pastoral assignment. I’ve been very pleased with Father Mahoney’s service. I’ll regret losing him in that position because of his personal commitment and the vital importance of the rector’s work. I do understand his desire for a change, however. Today I am announcing his successor.
Bishop Timothy Senior has served Cardinal Justin Rigali and myself as moderator of the curia — in effect, the chief operating officer of the Archdiocese — with uncommon diligence and good will during one of the most painful times the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has ever experienced. He’s done an outstanding job under pressure. I now need him in other work, equally demanding but also rewarding in a powerful way. Nothing is more fundamental to the renewal of the Church than forming good and holy priests. We need men who are equipped with the maturity, humility, zeal and pastoral skill to bring their people to Jesus Christ in today’s challenging new environment. I believe Bishop Senior has the ability to lead that vital work at our seminary. I’m pleased to appoint him rector, and I’m grateful that he has accepted beginning July 2.
Replacing him as moderator of the curia will be Msgr. Daniel Kutys, currently pastor at SS. Peter and Paul in West Chester, but with a long record of excellent service at the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference. He has also served at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center and most recently on the Blue Ribbon Commission that examined the future of Catholic education in our Archdiocese. We have a great many practical challenges ahead of us as a local Church. I look forward to Msgr. Kutys’ leadership skill, his counsel and his help.
Underneath the hard shell of sins and burdens of the past decade, the Church in Philadelphia is a river of life. I’ve seen it in our parishes, our people and our priests. We’ll get back to that clean water by the grace of God and our hard work in His service.