Pope Francis appoints new Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese

Pope Francis formally announced Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda’s appointment as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul-Minneapolis on Thursday at 6 a.m.

“If you were wondering whether I am surprised to be standing before you today as the Archbishop Designate of St. Paul-Minneapolis. The answer in a resounding yes," Hebda told media on Thursday.

Archbishop Hebda had been serving as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese since John Nienstedt resigned amid allegations of personal misconduct last year. Hebda was also serving the Archdiocese of Newark and was expected to replace Archbishop John J. Myers when he retired.

"When I arrived in Minnesota for the first time last June, I was but a visitor -- assigned as Apostolic Administrator to help with the operations of the Archdiocese until Pope Francis named a new Archbishop," he wrote in a newsletter. "The Pope and the Holy Spirit evidently had different plans for me than I had anticipated, and I am humbled and honored to be named your shepherd."

In addition to serving the Archdioceses of Newark and Saint Paul-Minneapolis, Archbishop Hebda was Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan and has served at the Vatican and in parishes in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Archbishop Hebda’s Installation Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday, May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, at the Cathedral of Saint Paul.

SNAP: 'This is a disappointing choice'

"The new Twin Cities archbishop is a slightly friendlier version of the old Twin Cities archbishop. This is a disappointing choice for an archdiocese that deserves better and by a pope who knows better," said a statement from by David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Just weeks ago, Hebda stayed silent and did nothing while his corrupt predecessor quietly moved out of state and resumed ministry, causing a firestorm of justifiable outrage and controversy. Just three months ago, we urged Hebda to reach out to victims of a predator priest whose conviction was upheld. He ignored us."

"Hebda’s the consummate insider, a savvy politician," Clohessy sadded. "He’s a typical Francis appointee – a glad-handing milquetoast who toes the party line with a smile instead of a scold. He benefits from being judged by the extraordinarily low bar set by Archbishop John Nienstedt. But he will do little or nothing to better protect kids and expose those who commit or conceal sex crimes and misconduct in Minnesota."