Most of you reading this probably don't even know what a "monsignor" is, let along know how to pronounce it.***
But a geezer pal and I were chatting this morning, sadly, about the passing of Msgr (that's pronounced the same way "monsignor" is, youngsters) Schuler and what a loss it was to the Church (the Church Militant). And probably a gain for Heaven (the Church Triumphant).
Then we got to musing about how there didn't seem to be any other monsignors in the archdiocese.****
My pal was born in Sleepy Eye, in what is now the Diocese of New Ulm, where our new Coadjutor Archbishop, John Nienstedt, is Bishop now. There are lots of monsignors there, he noted. Fargo alone created seven new monsignors last Winter. Five priests were named monsignors in the Diocese of New Ulm in November of 2005.
It is up to a Bishop if he wants to request that the Pope designate priests as "monsignor", an honorary title of the Church.
Lots of organizations have honorary titles. The Minneapolis Police Department is probably still loaded with Inspectors and Sergeants; and the Fire Department has gobs of Captains. People deserve recognition.
There are lots of good priests in the Archdiocese of St Paul-Minneapolis. Rumor has it (Don't forget that your reporter hangs out incognito at Chancery lunching establishments like Frost's and Costello's) that the reason that we don't have "monsignors" here is that Chancery officials are afraid of offending those who wouldn't get those appointments.
If Fargo can have seven, and New Ulm can have five, surely we should have 30 or 40! Now that we will be having an Archbishop in a year or so who isn't afraid of making monsignors, look forward to seeing a lot of red on the cassocks and surplices of your pastors.
You say you don't see many cassocks and surplices these days? I bet you will in the future!
Thank God for Archbishop Flynn who has turned around this Archdiocese. And Thank God for Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt who will surely take it to higher levels!
*** Monsignor: See Wikipedia You don't believe Wikipedia; OK, then see the Catholic Encyclopedia!
**** My apologies to the following: Msgr Aloysius Callaghan, who was not ordained in this diocese and is rector of the St Paul Seminary; Msgr William L Baumgaertner, Ordained 1946; Msgr Jerome Boxleitner, 1956; Msgr James Habiger, 1951; Msgr Patrick Hessian, 1953; Msgr Ellsworth Kneal, 1944; Msgr James Lavin, 1945; Msgr Richard Moudry, 1950; Msgr Robert Probst, 1945; Msgr Stanley Srnec, 1942; Msgr John Sweeney, 1941; and Msgr John Ward, 1945. God Bless You and thank you for your services to the Church!
I would say that those years of ordination prove my point. Few of those holy men are in active service today, I would imagine.