Seven hundred-thousand Catholics in the Hartford Archdiocese have a new spiritual shepherd.
In a ceremony at the Cathedral of St Joseph Monday, retiring Archbishop Henry Mansell stood at the doors of the church. It is the custom during an official installation. Mansell welcomed Leonard Blair as Hartford's fifth archbishop and told him, "May you have health and happiness as the Archbishop of Hartford for many and glorious years."
Pope Francis appointed Blair in October to lead the archdiocese which includes Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties. He succeeds Mansell, who retired at the age of 76 after ten years in the post.
In his sermon, Archbishop Blair told the audience of two-thousand about his Polish heritage and the Detroit neighborhood where he grew up. He said, "By any standard being named the Archbishop of Hartford represents a monumental change in my life. A summons to leave behind an established life and place and many dear people in order to embrace a new people and place which I have no doubt will be equally dear to me." Blair is the previous Bishop to Diocese of Toledo, Ohio.
He also was one of the three bishops appointed by the Vatican last year to lead the overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The assessment was to determine if the LCWR, the largest umbrella group for U.S. nuns, was acting in accordance with the church's teachings. He and the others on the panel concluded the group undermined the Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality, birth control and promoting "radical feminist themes."