Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt's welcoming Mass June 29 seemed to echo the vision written in Latin on his coat of arms: "That they may be all one" (John 17:21).
About 3,000 people, representing races and cultures from across the archdiocese, came to the Cathedral of St. Paul to celebrate the historic Mass, which lasted nearly three hours.
Bishops and priests, many from throughout the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, dressed in their red vestments in honor and recognition of the feast day of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
Cardinals Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Adam Maida of Detroit joined Archbishop Harry Flynn, Archbishop Nienstedt, Bishop Richard Pates and others at the altar.
Archbishop Nienstedt (pronounced nine-stedt) received thunderous applause and a standing ovation from the congregation after Msgr. Martin Krebs, charge d'affaires at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, read a letter from Pope Benedict XVI naming him as coadjutor archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
At the Mass, many languages were spoken, including English, Tagalog, Nigerian, Korean, German, Norwegian and Gaelic. The second reading (2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18) was read in Vietnamese.
Archbishop Flynn said the diversity was representative of Jesus Christ and his church, as well as the Cathedral's patron saint's mission of evangelization to people across the world.
Homily displays talent
Archbishop Nienstedt delivered a homily that was interrupted repeatedly by applause as he addressed his vision for the archdiocese.
Being named a coadjutor signifies that Archbishop Nienstedt has shared governance of the archdiocese with Archbishop Flynn. Moreover, as coadjutor, Archbishop Nienstedt will immediately succeed Archbishop Flynn upon his retirement, resignation or death.
During his address from the pulpit, Archbishop Nienstedt displayed his talented singing voice. He sang a short hymn at the beginning of his homily and encouraged a sing-a-long at the end.
Archbishop Nienstedt also took the opportunity to address press coverage centered on his character and administrative style.
"Much ink has been spilled in the press over speculation about how this new coadjutor will differ from the present archbishop," Archbishop Nienstedt said.
"But frankly, I believe such speculation is misplaced. Leadership in Christ's church should not be about our differences in personality or administrative style, but rather our commitment to the message and mission of the Lord Jesus."
As Archbishop Nienstedt descended the cathedral's front steps, hundreds of congregants piled into shuttles to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul for a cake and coffee reception. Read it all in the Catholic Spirit