Monday, June 09, 2008

A Cruz for Newark

The Pope has named a longtime North Jersey hospital chaplain as an auxiliary bishop of Newark.

Born in Havana, Bishop-elect Manuel Cruz, 54, became the first native of Cuba ordained for the 1.4 million-member archdiocese in 1980. Until his 1995 appointment as chaplain of the see city's St Michael's Hospital, he served at Newark's Cathedral-Basilica of the Sacred Heart (towers, above). In the years following, Cruz's responsibilities were bumped up to include running hospital ministry for the entire archdiocese, and an assistant professorship in neuropathology at UMDNJ, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Cruz joins three other active auxiliaries at the helm of the Newark church, where Archbishop John Myers ordained eleven new priests at the end of May. Home to the second largest concentration of Cuban emigres to the States (after Miami), the bishop-elect becomes the island's fifth native made a US bishop, and the second outside of South Florida.

SVILUPPO: Ordination scheduled for 8 September -- release already on the street:
The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, today announced that Pope Benedict XVI has named as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark Rev. Msgr. Manuel A. Cruz, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark who has spent his life in service to the people of the Archdiocese in both parish and in medical and pastoral care ministry.

Bishop-elect Cruz was ordained a priest for service in the Archdiocese of Newark on May 31, 1980. He was the first Cuban-born priest ordained in the Archdiocese.

The new bishop, 54, was born in Havana on December 2, 1953 to Juan and Caridad Cruz. He came to the United States in 1966 with his parents, spending a year in Florida before moving to Union City. There he attended Union City public schools. He is a graduate of Seton Hall University and studied for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, NJ.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and a Master of Arts degree in Sacred Scripture from Seton Hall University.

Following his ordination in 1980, Fr. Cruz served as a parochial vicar at Holy Rosary Parish in Elizabeth. In 1982, he was appointed a parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark. In 1986, he was appointed to the Archdiocesan Vocations Committee by then Archbishop McCarrick. From 1991 to 1993, he served as Dean of Deanery 19, Northern Newark.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II bestowed upon Fr. Cruz the honorary title Chaplain to His Holiness, with the title Monsignor.

Between 1995 and 2001, Bishop Cruz served as a lecturer with the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark. Since 2001, he has served as an adjunct assistant professor at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.

In 1995 he became a chaplain at Saint Michael’s Medical Center and later was named director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Pastoral Care in 2003. In this position, he directed the full range of Catholic chaplain and pastoral care services at all hospitals and medical centers within the Archdiocese. In 2005, Archbishop Myers named Msgr. Cruz vice president for Mission and Ministry for Catholic Health and Human Services, the health care and social services arm of the Archdiocese.

As a young man, Msgr. Cruz spent some eight years as a member of the Emergency Room staff of St. James Hospital in Newark, and he has a background in neuropathology.

He has served as a member of the Institutional Review Board of several New Jersey hospitals, as a member of the Ethics Committee of Saint Michael’s Medical Center, and as a member of the New Jersey Catholic Conference’s Committee on Ethics, and is a lecturer in neuropathology at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark.

In making the announcement, Archbishop Myers stated: "Bishop-Elect Cruz is well-known and highly regarded by the priests and people of this Archdiocese not only for his extensive involvement in ministry to the Spanish-speaking, but also for his deep and strong commitment to the health and the needs of the poor. In leadership roles in chaplain service and hospital ministry, he has served the needs of people in the Archdiocese at their most vulnerable moments. Throughout his life as a priest, Bishop Cruz has continued to provide the very real presence of Our Lord at a time when it is most needed.

“We know God will enrich our Archdiocese and the Church with the blessing of Bishop Cruz’s Episcopal ministry for many years to come.”

Bishop-elect Cruz responded to the Holy Father's appointment by saying: “It is with a grateful heart and deep humility that I stand before you today, as I have been named by Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, auxiliary bishop to you, Archbishop Myers…Although I have spent more years in American than in my homeland of Cuba, in my heart, I am grateful to be a Cuban, and to be known as a Cuban refugee. As a refugee, I learned that everything is a gift, a gift that comes from God’s loving hands.

“During my childhood in Cuba, I was able to witness the community of sisters gathering in church to pray the three o’clock prayer. At that hour, they knelt down and held in their hands a crucifix. And the prayer began: ‘I adore you, my Divine Savior Jesus Christ, for having rescued me.’

“Please pray for me that I will hold on fast to the Cross of Christ. Pray that, in my new ministry as an Auxiliary Bishop, I will continue to proclaim and teach, by my example, that it is the love of Christ, and Him Crucified, that compels us!”
...and that's the Newark news for now... possibly with more to come.