Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Oh Boy... ea": Lansing Gets its Bishop

It might be a tad late. Then again, it's still... Earl-y.

Quite a few got the hint yesterday, and this morning Pope Benedict named Auxiliary Bishop Earl Boyea of Detroit as bishop of Lansing. Boyea, 56, succeeds Bishop Carl Mengeling, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in October 2005.

A native of suburban Pontiac -- as in... the car -- Boyea was ordained for the Motor City See in 1978. A product of Detroit's Sacred Heart Seminary and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, the appointee earned graduate degrees in both theology and history, completing a doctorate in the latter from the Catholic University of America in 1987 (with a dissertation that examined the old National Catholic Welfare Conference, the forerunner to today's USCCB).

After seven years in parish work and 13 years on the faculty of the Detroit seminary, Boyea was named rector-president of Columbus' Pontifical College Josephinum in 2000 in succession to Msgr Thomas Olmsted, who had been named coadjutor-bishop of Wichita. In 2002, the rector returned home as auxiliary bishop to Cardinal Adam Maida, since which time he's overseen the Northeast Region of the 1.47 million-member archdiocese -- which likewise awaits a new head.

Home to 230,000 Catholics, the ten-county Lansing diocese was established in 1937. Among its resident institutions are two of the nation's largest college campuses: Michigan State in East Lansing (46,000 students) and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (41,000).

According to the timetable's latest revision, Detroit's new archbishop can be expected "after Easter, but before the pallium [29 June]." Boyea will be installed in an East Lansing church on 29 April, with a Vespers service the preceding night in St Mary's Cathedral.

SVILUPPO: From the statements....

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI’s, decision to entrust to me the leadership of and the care for the Church of Lansing moves me not only to giving thanks to God and to His Holiness but also brings me great joy. Who would not be joyful to become a part of such a faith-filled and love-filled family? The reputation of this diocese for its devotion to Christ Jesus is widespread. So being asked to be the presence of the Holy Apostles in this local church does me great honor.

However, my heart is not only filled with a desire to give thanks and with a fullness of joy. It is also home to anxiety. The words of St. Augustine, from several of his homilies, can best articulate that concern: “For you I am a bishop, with you, after all, I am a Christian. The first is the name of an office undertaken, the second the name of grace; the former means danger, the latter salvation. … The turbulent have to be corrected, the faint-hearted cheered up, the weak supported;
… the gospel’s opponents need to be refuted, its insidious enemies guarded against; the unlearned need to be taught, the indolent stirred up, the argumentative checked; the proud must be put in their place, the desperate set on their feet, those engaged in quarrels reconciled; the needy have to be helped, the oppressed to be liberated, the good to be given your backing, the bad to be tolerated; all must be loved.”

St. Augustine noted in another homily: “I shall be giving [an account] both for myself and for you.” This request of mine is thus offered to all of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ in this Diocese of Lansing, to help me do my task well: “lead good lives” and let us pray for one another so that my time as your bishop will be fruitful both for me and for you. Let us pray especially that together we may all reach heaven. May our loving God grant us such a blessing.
For 12 years, I have met with Bishop Boyea on various occasions and I know:

Above all, he loves being a priest and bishop who loves Christ and his church.

He seeks to be a eucharistic priest with a servant’s heart.

He is a “people person” friendly, relational, engaging and an available, willing and generous servant, blessed with a sharp mind and sense of humor;

He is gifted with high energy and enthusiasm for the mission of the church;

I believe he will be a Good Shepherd – inviting, welcoming, teaching, sanctifying and serving all in the name of Christ in these 10 mid-Michigan counties.

My brother, Bishop Earl, the community of believers in this local church freely and fully accepts you as our bishop. We thank our Lord and his Petrine servant, Benedict XVI, for naming you bishop of Lansing. We heartily offer you our respect, confidence and fidelity and especially our prayers. Now, in the name of all, I joyfully welcome you, Bishop Earl Boyea - my bishop - our bishop - to the Diocese of Lansing.
PHOTO: Diocese of Lansing