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placeholder Bishop Vigneron says farewell

Bishop Emeritus Cummins reflects
on Bishop Vigneron’s appointment

Detroit welcomes a native son as new archbishop

Cathedral food service hires grads of Kitchen of Champions' culinary training program

Cathedral interfaith prayer service for President-elect, administration

St. Bede School/Moreau High grad creates award-winning adventures of a holy hit man

Moraga parishioners put new shoes on students’ feet

Schools plan civic lessons, celebrations to observe Obama inauguration

Gaza priest: ‘We cry and nobody hears us’

Catholic clinics destroyed in Gaza; patriarch calls for peace

Catholic Relief Services pledges to continue aid to Gaza

Immigration reform advocates hopeful of success with Obama

Religious coalition urges Obama to end U.S. torture practices

Americans report religion’s influence on the decline

Guatemalan Catholics march on crime rate

Operation Rice Bowl funds delivered to nine local service organizations

Pastoral ministry schools graduate 50 lay leaders

Youth in diocese instructed on possible sex abuse

placeholder January 19, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Bishop Emeritus Cummins reflects
on Bishop Vigneron’s appointment

Bishop Emeritus John Cummins and Bishop Allen Vigneron at the dedication of the Cathedral of Christ the Light, Sept. 25, 2008.
luis gris photo

The expression “past is prelude” comes to mind to give insight into how Bishop Allen Vigneron’s years in Oakland serve as preparation for the responsibility in these uncertain times of the large and historic Archdiocese of Detroit.

Detroit, as See city of the archdiocese, had small beginnings two centuries ago and many years of flourishing, now with more than twice the Catholic population of our Oakland Diocese. The archdiocese has more than 300 diocesan priests and another 300 religious and retired clergy. There are 303 parishes, almost quadruple that of the Oakland Diocese.

The heritage of Detroit is one of leadership. We are indebted to Cardinal John Dearden, thoughtful and forceful, implementing the Second Vatican Council not only in the archdiocese but in the country at large. He chose to send the young Allen Vigneron for doctoral studies. Cardinal Dearden was the first president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. We still benefit from his leadership.

But he was not singular. There was a diplomatic Cardinal Edward Mooney in earlier days, Cardinal Edmund Szoka who became governor of the Vatican state, and the recently retired Cardinal Adam Maida who as a Pittsburgh canon lawyer lectured us here in the diocese on more than one occasion.

Archbishop-designate Vigneron embraces that heritage.

I recall in his early months here after making visitations to a number of parishes that he remarked that he could find great enjoyment as a parish priest. But many steps have taken him well beyond a parish boundary and now this change brings to him even broader responsibility for the Church.

He will sacrifice as well his comfort in the academic world, as indeed he did here when he learned upon his arrival that we were about to build a cathedral. It was his to decide the continuance of the process in which he had had no voice in fashioning. His commitment to the project helped to insure that Oakland will have a cathedral for generations to come.

And now Bishop Allen Vigneron is going home. A columnist in the New York Times a generation ago wrote, “Travel is broadening, particularly where the food and drink are good. But the journey home is an exultant occasion.”

I remember an accomplished Jesuit from the Vatican Congregation of Oriental Churches who visited us some years ago. He remarked to me, “It must be gratifying to be able to serve as bishop in your home area. I have been in Rome for 41 years, but it is not home.”

I join with the Catholics of the Oakland Diocese in offering the new archbishop our thanks and blessing. Vaya con Dios. Ad multos annos.

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