The news Thursday that Acting Archbishop Bernard Hebda will become the permanent leader of the Twin Cities archdiocese came as a relief to area Catholics — and as a shock to Hebda and Vatican observers.Archbishop Hebda came to my parish, St. Rose of Lima, early on after he'd been appointed as the interim replacement for Nienstedt. I was out of town that day, Mrs. D and the kids were there and they were impressed. The plan was that Hebda would return to Newark after the Vatican found a permanent replacement, but that has changed. Given the amount of trouble this archdiocese faces, I would wager that the Pope and his advisors figured that Hebda needed to be here.
Hebda, who has been splitting his time between the Twin Cities and Newark, N.J., since Archbishop John Nienstedt resigned last June, will be installed officially May 13.
Given the speed of events, Hebda said he had no master plan for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. However, he plans to work with clergy, staff and parishioners as he charts his path forward.It will be an interesting process to watch.
"Up to this point … my primary concern is to do no harm," Hebda said at a news conference Thursday morning at the Cathedral. "After May 13, [the day he is installed] it's going to be my responsibility to set a longer course."