by Patricia Zapor
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and appointed Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput to succeed him as head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The changes were announced July 19 in Washington by Msgr. Jean-Francois Lantheaume, charge d’affaires at the apostolic nunciature in Washington.
The priest also announced that the pope accepted the resignation of Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, Ga., and appointed as his replacement Father Gregory Hartmayer, a Conventual Franciscan priest who currently is pastor of St. John Vianney parish in Little Springs, Ga.
Both retiring prelates are 76, a year past the age at which they are required by canon law to submit their resignations to the Vatican.
Archbishop Chaput is scheduled to be installed as Philadelphia’s new archbishop Sept. 8 at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.
A native of Los Angeles who was ordained for the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 1961, Cardinal Rigali has headed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 2003. He previously served as archbishop of St. Louis after a long career in various Vatican posts, most in diplomatic positions. He was named a cardinal in 2003.
The cardinal’s successor, Archbishop Chaput, is a Capuchin Franciscan who was born in Concordia, Kan., Sept. 26, 1944. A member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, he was the first Native American to be named an archbishop when he was appointed to Denver in 1997. He became the second Native American to be made a bishop when he was named to the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D., in 1988.
He held several positions in administration for the Capuchins before becoming a bishop.
Archbishop Chaput holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Fidelis College in Herman, Pa., a master’s degree in religious education from Capuchin College in Washington, and a master’s in theology from the University of San Francisco. Among his recent writing are two books, “Render Unto Caesar,” about Catholic participation in the public square, and “Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics.” He has served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal advisory organization.
Philadelphia news organizations had been speculating that Cardinal Rigali’s resignation was related to public criticism of how the archdiocese has handled clergy sex abuse cases, but he had submitted his resignation after he turned 75 on April 19, 2010, as required under canon law.
A scathing grand jury report released in February accused the archdiocese of failing to stop priests from sexually abusing children even after a previous report had called attention to problems. It said more than three dozen priests with allegations of sexual abuse were still in positions where they could contact children.
At the grand jury’s recommendation, two priests, a layman and a former archdiocesan priest were charged with criminal counts related to abuse of juveniles. Another priest was charged with endangering child welfare for his role in assigning the accused priests.
In response, the Philadelphia Archdiocese, among other things, has hired a former sex crimes prosecutor to review personnel files of the 37 priests named in the grand jury’s report. Cardinal Rigali also placed 21 priests on administrative leave while any allegations made against them are reviewed.
In Georgia, retiring Bishop Boland is a native of County Cork, Ireland, who studied for the priesthood in Dublin and came to the United States to be ordained for the Savannah Diocese in 1959. After various parish positions and administrative jobs in the diocese, he was named bishop of Savannah in 1995.
His successor, Bishop-designate Hartmayer is a native of Buffalo, N.Y., who was ordained for the Capuchin Franciscans in 1979 after studying at the order’s novitiate in Ellicott City, Md. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Massachusetts and three master’s degrees: in divinity from St. Anthony-on-Hudson in Rensselaer, N.Y., in pastoral counseling from Emmanuel College, Boston, and in education from Boston College.
Since his ordination, Bishop-designate Hartmayer has worked as a guidance counselor, teacher and principal at schools in Baltimore, various cities in New York and in Florida. He served as pastor at St. Philip Benizi parish in Jonesboro, Ga., before being named to St. John Vianney in 2010.