Catholic News Agency - EWTN [Denver CO]
June 26, 2023
By Courtney Mares
Vatican City – Pope Francis appointed Bishop Christopher Coyne as a coadjutor archbishop of Hartford on Monday.
As coadjutor, Coyne will assist Archbishop Leonard Blair in the administration of the Hartford archdiocese and should succeed him as archbishop upon his retirement, expected once Blair turns 75 next year.
Coyne has led the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont since 2015. The 65-year-old bishop previously served as the auxiliary bishop of Indianapolis from 2011 to 2015.
As bishop of Burlington, Coyne removed an unvaccinated pastor from his parish in 2022 for refusing to wear a face mask and be regularly tested for COVID-19, spoke out against a state bill that threatened the seal of the confessional, and formed a lay review committee to investigate personnel files relating to sexual abuse of minors by priests in 2018.
Originally from Woburn, Massachusetts, Coyne worked as a bartender for two years before entering seminary. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston at the age of 27. After ordination, he studied in Rome at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, where he earned a doctorate in sacred liturgy in 1994. He became the director of the archdiocese’s Office of Worship in 2000.
Cardinal Bernard Law appointed Coyne as a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002, a role he held for three years at the height of the archdiocese’s sex abuse scandal.
He later served as the chairman of communications for the U.S. bishops’ conference from 2015 to 2018 and as a member of the U.S. bishops’ Evangelization and Catechesis Committee and the Committee on Divine Worship.
Next year, Coyne is expected to succeed Blair, who has led the Archdiocese of Hartford for the past ten years. Before coming to Connecticut, Blair served as the bishop of Toledo from 2003 to 2013 and as an auxiliary bishop of Detroit from 1999 to 2003.
Blair initiated a pastoral plan in 2016 to revitalize the Archdiocese of Hartford, which combined neighboring churches into a single parish, reducing the number of parishes from 213 to 127. He also called for an archdiocesan synod in 2018.
The Archdiocese of Hartford includes the counties of New Haven and Litchfield and has nearly 470,000 Catholics. Pope Gregory XVI established Hartford as a diocese in 1843.