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Bishop Hennessey to become Merrimack Regional Bishop

By Pilot Staff
Posted: 1/31/2014

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Bishop Robert F. Hennessey Pilot file photo


BRAINTREE -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley announced Jan. 23 that he has appointed the Bishop Robert F. Hennessey as Auxiliary Bishop for the Merrimack Region of the Archdiocese of Boston. The appointment is effective March 9. Bishop Hennessey currently serves as auxiliary bishop for the Central Region.

"The clergy, religious and faithful of the Merrimack Region are blessed that Bishop Hennessey will bring his extensive pastoral experience and leadership skills to the service of their parishes and institutions," said Cardinal O'Malley. "In particular the region will benefit from the bishop's long-standing care and concern for our brothers and sisters who are newly arrived from other countries. As the archdiocese moves forward on the path of pastoral planning, Bishop Hennessey's careful attention to the needs of the parishes and parishioners and the local community will greatly assist our efforts to strengthen the work of the Church now and for the future."

Bishop Hennessey said, "I want to thank Cardinal Seán for the faithful pastoral care he offers to the priests and parishes of the archdiocese. With confidence in the Lord, I look forward to getting to know the fine parishioners of the Merrimack Region. I want to also extend my heartfelt thanks to the priests and parishioners of the Central Region. I have enjoyed every moment working with the community which is so close to my heart."

Bishop Hennessey was ordained to the priesthood in May 1978 and he was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop of Boston in December 2006. For the decade prior to his episcopal ordination he was pastor of Most Holy Redeemer in East Boston, a diverse parish, including a large Spanish-speaking congregation.

His previous assignments included parochial vicar at St. Joseph in Hanson, St. Peter in Plymouth and St. Joseph in Needham. He also pursued graduate studies at Moreau Seminary at Notre Dame, Ind. and served in the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle, founded by Cardinal Cushing as an international organization of diocesan missionary priests to serve the Church in Latin America. While stationed as pastor at Most Holy Redeemer, he served as administrator at Our Lady of the Airways Chapel at Logan Airport and at Our Lady of the Assumption in East Boston.

Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia Bishop Robert P. Deeley said, "The Cardinal and I are grateful to Bishop Hennessey for accepting this assignment, particularly at this important moment in the pastoral planning process and the implementation of Disciples in Mission. In his more than 35 years of priesthood he has made it a priority to support the work of our parish priests through fraternity, outreach and care."

The cardinal expressed his appreciation to Father John Mulloy, "who has graciously served as Interim Episcopal Vicar of the Merrimack Region these past many months. Father Mulloy has always accepted a call to serve with grace."

Planning for the leadership of the Central Region of the archdiocese will be finalized in the coming weeks and announced at that time.