New Bishop for Gaylord, Michigan

Pope Taps Member of Legislative Text Council

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GAYLORD, Michigan, OCT. 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI named Monsignor Bernard Hebda, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as bishop of Gaylord.

The bishop-designate succeeds Bishop Patrick Cooney, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit

Bernard Hebda was born in Pittsburgh in 1959. He graduated with a master's degree from Harvard in 1980, and earned a law degree from Columbia University in 1983. Before entering the seminary in 1984, he passed the bar exam in Pennsylvania and began working for a law firm.

Hebda was ordained in 1989, and completed a licentiate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University the next year.

In 1996, Father Hebda was appointed to the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts in Rome, the Vatican agency that interprets Church law, and was named undersecretary in 2003.

While in Rome, the priest also served as an adjunct spiritual director at North American College, and as a confessor for the postulants of the Missionaries of Charity, and for the sisters of that community working at a home for unwed mothers.

The Diocese of Gaylord was established in 1971. The territory encompasses 11,171 square miles and includes the 21 most northern counties of Michigan’s lower peninsula, the diocese reports on its Web page.

The region is home to some 510,532 residents of which more than 66,000 are Catholic and is served by 80 parishes, 17 Catholic schools and many closely related institutions.

There are 69 priests, 18 permanent deacons and 45 religious.