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The Most Reverend 
Gregory Michael Aymond
Archbishop of New Orleans
See New Orleans
Enthroned August 20, 2009
Predecessor Alfred Clifton Hughes
Successor incumbent
Ordination May 10, 1975
Consecration January 10, 1997
Other Bishop of Austin (2001-2009)
Coadjutor Bishop of Austin (2000-2001)
Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans (1997-2000)
Personal details
Born November 12, 1949 (1949-11-12) (age 60)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Styles of
Gregory Michael Aymond
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style not applicable

Gregory Michael Aymond (born November 12, 1949) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the fourteenth and current Archbishop of New Orleans. He previously served as Bishop of Austin from 2001 to 2009.

Contents

Early life and education

The oldest of three children,[1] Gregory Aymond was born in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana.[2] He attended St. James Major Elementary School, and evacuated New Orleans with his family by skiff after Hurricane Betsy in 1965.[1] After graduating from Cor Jesu High School in 1967, he studied at St. Joseph Seminary College near Covington until 1971.[2] He then attended Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, from where he obtained his Master of Divinity degree in 1975.[3] He then furthered his studies at the Institute for Ministry at Loyola University.[3]

Priesthood

Aymond was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Philip Hannan on May 10, 1975.[4] He then served as a professor and later rector at St. John Vianney Preparatory Seminary in New Orleans until 1981, when he became director of education and professor of pastoral theology and homiletics at his alma mater Notre Dame Seminary.[2] From 1986 to 2000, he served as president-rector of Notre Dame; his tenure was the longest in the seminary's history.[2]

During his priestly ministry, he also served as executive director of the Department of Christian Formation, with responsibility for Catholic schools and religious education.[2] He was director of Society for the Propagation of the Faith and was a member of its national board (1977-2000).[3] During the 1980s, Aymond and groups of seminarians from Notre Dame began to visit Mexico, where they built houses and offered religious training.[2] In 1994 he founded Christ the Healer, a medical mission program of the New Orleans Archdiocese in Granada, Nicaragua.[3]

Episcopal ministry

On November 19, 1996, Aymond was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans and Titular Bishop of Acholla by Pope John Paul II.[4] He received his episcopal consecration on January 10, 1997 from Archbishop Francis Bible Schulte, with Archbishops Philip Hannan and John Favalora serving as co-consecrators.[4]

In 1998 he allowed Brian Matherne, a coach at Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Norco, to remain in his post despite accusations that Matherne had molested a male student years earlier.[5][6] Aymond dropped the matter without alerting police after unsuccessful attempts to speak to the alleged victim; Matherne was later arrested and pleaded guilty to molesting seventeen boys over a period of fifteen years.[6] Aymond admitted his mistake in not firing Matherene and said that such situations must be applied to learning and improvement.[7]

Bishop of Austin

Aymond was named Coadjutor Bishop of Austin, Texas, on 2000 June 2, being formally installed as such on the following August 3. He later succeeded John McCarthy as the fourth Bishop of Austin on 2001 January 2. The Diocese of Austin grew rapidly (partly as a result of immigration) during Aymond's bishopric and actually had more churchgoers than many archdioceses, including New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.[8]

Return to New Orleans

On 2009 June 12, Pope Benedict XVI named Aymond as the 14th Archbishop of New Orleans, designating him for formal installation as Archbishop of New Orleans on 2009 August 20 at the Saint Louis Cathedral. He continues, within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to chair the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and sits on the Committees for Campus Ministry, Education, Laity, and World Missions.[9]

Challenges in New Orleans

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Consolidation of parishes

Aymond faces challenges in "the aftermath of years of sex scandals and the unpopular consolidation of parishes and closing of churches for economic reasons" as phrased by Kevin McGill of the Associated Press. Even so Aymond said, "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would come back here as [arch]bishop" on 2009 June 12.[8]

Abuse scandal

On 2009 June 12 Aymond already found himself faced with a complaint that he only "postures as someone who takes clergy sex crimes seriously" from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

University of Notre Dame

No stranger to controversy, Aymond himself "was one of more than 80 United States bishops who wrote to the University of Notre Dame (in South Bend, Indiana) to protest its award of an honorary degree to President Barack Obama"; in Austin, Aymond, who in 2007 tried to block a speaking appointment there by dissident Catholic theologian Fr. Charles Curran, was known as an opponent of abortion, artificial birth control, and capital punishment.[10]

Relationship with parishioners

A 2009 June 16 Times-Picayune editorial praised as "a promising way to begin" Aymond's willingness to listen to his new parishioners.[11]

Church recruitment

Aymond is thought to be an effective recruiter of people to church vocations, the Austin Diocese web site indicating that under his bishopric the number of seminarians increased threefold.[12]

Personal management

Aymond has been described as "a sharp, conciliatory operator"[13] and a "quiet pragmatist who prefers to promote Catholic values in and out of his church without the public confrontations some colleagues willingly accept."[1]

Books by Aymond

Aymond has published two books:

Aymond, Gregory Michael. Courageous Moral Leadership. Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), 2004. ISBN 1558333428, ISBN 9781558333420.
Sofield, Loughlan; Juliano, Carroll; & Aymond, Gregory Michael. Facing Forgiveness: A Catholic’s Guide to Letting Go of Anger and Welcoming Reconciliation. Notre Dame / South Bend, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2007. ISBN 1594711224, ISBN 9781594711220.

References

  1. ^ a b c Nolan, Bruce (2009-08-20). "New archbishop of New Orleans to be installed today". The Times-Picayune. http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/when_bishop_gregory_aymond_lef.html.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. http://www.arch-no.org/aymond.php.  
  3. ^ a b c d "Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond". Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin. http://www.austindiocese.org/dept/bishops_office/aymond_bio.php.  
  4. ^ a b c "Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/baymond.html.  
  5. ^ Nolan, Bruce and Ramon Antonio Vargas (2009-06-12). "New archbishop vows to 'reconcile' with those hurt by parish closures, but says he won't 'second guess' Hughes". The Times-Picayune. http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/06/vatican_names_austins_bishop_g.html.  
  6. ^ a b "Special Reports: Catholic Bishops and Sex Abuse". The Dallas Morning News. 2002-06-12. http://www.dallasnews.com/cgi-bin/bi/dallas/2002/priests.cgi?bishop=&diocese=&state=Texas&step=Search.  
  7. ^ Paul Boudreau & Gregory M. Aymond (interview), "Priest sexual abuse: Where are we now?" in Catholic Digest, 2007 April, pp. 28-34.
  8. ^ a b Kevin McGill, "New Orleans native is city's new archbishop" in Daily Star (Hammond), 2009 June 13, p. 7B.
  9. ^ Announcement from the Vatican on 2009 June 12 at 5:00 AM CDT (New Orleans time).
  10. ^ Bruce Nolan & Ramon Antonio Vargas, "N.O. Native Named New Archbishop" in Times-Picayune, 2009 June 13, Saint Tammany Edition, p. A8.
  11. ^ "Archbishop and native son" in Times-Picayune, 2009 June 16, Saint Tammany Edition, p. B4.
  12. ^ Aymond bio on the Austin Diocese site.
  13. ^ Palmo, Rocco (2009-08-22). "Sonrise in Crescent City". Whispers in the Loggia. http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2009/08/sonrise-in-crescent-city.html.  

External links

Preceded by
Alfred Clifton Hughes
Archbishop of New Orleans
2009–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
John Edward McCarthy
Bishop of Austin
1990–2009
Succeeded by
Vacancy

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