Archbishop Coyne welcomed to Hartford

Early afternoon sun illuminated the splendid stained-glass windows of the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Joseph in Harford for the Mass of Welcome of Hartford's new coadjutor archbishop, Archbishop Christopher James Coyne. The Woburn native was appointed to the Hartford see on June 26, 2023, a bit over a week following his 65th birthday. He had previously served as the 10th bishop of the Burlington, Vermont, Diocese (2014-2023) and as auxiliary bishop of Indianapolis (2011-2014). During his time in Indianapolis, he also served as apostolic administrator from 2011-2012.

Cardinal Bernard Law had ordained him to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Boston on June 7, 1986, following his formation at St. John's Seminary, Brighton. While a priest of the archdiocese, he served in parishes and at St. John's Seminary. He was also awarded a licentiate and doctorate degree in Sacred Liturgy from the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant'Anselmo in Rome. His parish assignments were St. Mary of the Hills, Milton (1986-1989); Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton; St. Margaret Mary, Westwood; and faculty of St. John Seminary (1994-2006); director of the Office for Worship (2000-2002); and secretary for communications of the archdiocese (2002-2005).

The cathedral was standing room only. Twenty-five bishops, nearly 200 priests (Hartford, Burlington, Boston) and 100 permanent deacons processed into the Mass preceded by archdiocesan seminarians in various liturgical roles. Also in the procession were Knights of Columbus, Knights and Dames of Malta, Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, and those of St. Peter Claver. Archbishop Leonard Blair was the principal celebrant, and joining the other concelebrants was the apostolic nuncio to the U.S., Cardinal Christophe Pierre, in his first liturgical celebration since being named to the College of Cardinals on Sept. 30, 2023.

The cathedral choir supported the active participation in song of the whole assembly as well as singing choral pieces.

Archbishop Coyne was the homilist of the Mass and spoke of his "principal role" as a disciple of Jesus Christ. He set out his plan for the future as initially learning about the archdiocese, especially getting to know the priests, deacons, religious, and the lay faithful, and inviting everyone to be disciples of Christ inviting others to discipleship.