Burlington's new Bishop Christopher Coyne, center, greets Saint Michael's College President Jack Neuhauser, left, and Marilyn Cormier of the President's Office
The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, new Bishop of the Diocese of Burlington, made a strong and positive impression on Saint Michael's representatives who attended his Installation Mass at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington on Thursday afternoon, January 29.
The bishop, who spoke in his homily of the need for a "joyful church," displayed good humor in remarks at the end of the ceremony, including an expression of thanks to the delegation that attended from Saint Michael's College. They included President Jack Neuhauser, and many priests and brothers of the Edmundite community: Superior General Fr. Stephen Hornat (who was pastor of the co-Cathedral for close to a decade), Fr. Dave Theroux, Fr. Brian Cummings, Br. Tom Berube, Fr. Joe McLaughlin, Fr. Fred McLachlan, Fr. Mike Cronogue, Br. Frank Hagerty, Fr. Dave Cray, Fr. Charlie Ranges, Fr. Marcel Rainville, along with the Edmundites' Postulant in Formation, Ben Kalis.
"Bishop Coyne appears to be a very warm, open person," said President Neuhauser. "Clearly he is very attached to his large family, so likely has a wise appreciation the many issues a family experiences. He clearly is a person who likes to engage with others, even electronically, which opens a window to younger Catholics."
Also attending from the Saint Michael's community were John Kenney and Ray Patterson, professors of religious studies; Director of Government and Community Relations Marilyn Cormier and Tara Arcury from the President's Office; Registrar John Sheehey, Mathematics Professor George Ashline, Campus Minister Anna Lester, Human Resources Vice President Mike New, Classics Professor Ron Begley, and Michael Donoghue, adjunct in journalism.
Fr. Hornat said he felt the energy at the Mass was very positive: "The level of enthusiasm and excitement in the church was palpable," he said. "Over 900 worshippers were packed into the co-cathedral. You could feel joy in the celebration. It was so uplifting." Hornat said the new bishop's homily incorporated themes that Pope Francis has emphasized in many of his talks, "going out to the peripheries, being a Shepherd who smells his sheep, and joyfully spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ."
"The diocese waited 14 months for a Bishop to be chosen, Hornat said. " Bishop Coyne was worth the wait."
Hornat spoke briefly with Coyne and said the bishop is looking forward to his visit to campus. "Fr. Cummings handed him a few tickets to an SMC Basketball Game so I wouldn't be surprised if he joined us at courtside before the season ends," he said. "Both President Neuhauser and I have extended an invitation to Bishop Coyne to visit the College. He's got more pressing things to deal with in the immediate future, like Super Bowl Weekend. But after that, I am sure he will make his way to the hilltop. I look forward to working with him"
Neuhauser said he greeted the bishop at a ceremony at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception downtown the Wednesday evening before the Installation Mass, "but we have yet to have a serious conversation, even about this weekend's pressing issue," referring to the Super Bowl. Both men are fans of Boston sports teams.
"I really have no indication of how our relationship will develop or what the Bishop's thoughts might be on the relationship of the Diocese and the College," Neuhauser said. "I suspect I will in time."