Local News Archive
Print Issue: March 10, 1966
Auxiliary Bishop For Atlanta, Archbishop's Statement
The announcement that Atlanta will receive an auxiliary bishop is further recognition by Pope Paul VI that Atlanta and Georgia are growing significantly in the American Catholic scene. Bishop-elect Joseph L. Bernardins appointment is a tribute to this experienced young prelate. And it is also an honor and a service to our region which became a co-diocese with Savannah in 1935, a full diocese in 1956, and an archdiocese in 1962. Now our priests, sisters and laity, and none more gratefully than I, express our thanks to the Holy See for this new blessing.
Msgr. Bernardin, the first Southern-born priest of the Province of Atlanta to be raised to this high responsibility, is the logical choice to assist the present archbishop in the administration of this see. His experience as chancellor under four bishops in Charleston has enriched his fine priestly character. This has been enhanced by pastoral and ecumenical service in the parishes and missions of South Carolina. His record, especially that as secretary to Bishop Unterkoefler at the Vatican Council, has given him a broad acquaintance with the problems facing the Church today. But it is equally significant that our early missionary days, when Catholics were only a handful in the South, are now relived in the person of this new bishop who was born and received in his early education in this region.
He becomes by papal appointment and Episcopal consecration a bishop in the full sense of term, a successor of the Apostles. By custom, he receives the name of a diocese which once flourished in the Church (in this case, Lugura) but because of historical shifts, is now non-existent. His real authority is in sharing with the residential bishop in all acts proper to a bishop, i.e., teaching, sanctifying, administering. He will confirm the young laity and ordain new priests. He bears the insignia of a bishop-crozier, miter, ring and pectoral cross. Upon his arrival, he will be named Vicar General. Thus he will represent the archbishop in all matters proper to a bishop.
Joyfully, I offer today our gratitude to Pope Paul and his apostolic delegate, congratulations to our own archdiocese, and our promise of prayer and cooperation to our new Atlantan Bishop-elect Joseph L. Bernardin.
Paul J. Hallinan
Archbishop of Atlanta
Auxiliary Bishop For Atlanta, Bishop Unterkoefler Praises Bishop-Elect
The following statement was issued by Bishop Ernest Unterkoefler of Charleston.
The news of the elevation of Monsignor Joseph L. Bernardin to the Episcopate brings continuing waves of joy, exultation and gratitude throughout the whole life of the Diocese of Charleston. Genuinely, we thank Pope Paul VI for bestowing on one of our priests the privilege of being raised to the fullness of the priesthood. Truly, we will miss our loyal and devoted vicar general, but we send with him to his new Episcopate in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, our best wishes for success and good health. To Archbishop Hallinan, I send my congratulations on receiving Charlestons most outstanding priest as his auxiliary bishop. May this providential event make stronger the bonds of collegial life in the province of Atlanta.
There will be a period of adjustment in the Diocese of Charleston when the familiar, kindly Monsignor Bernardin leaves South Carolina. We will miss his untiring, effective work.
Having served under four bishops as chancellor and under two as vicar general, he has a broad knowledge and experience in diocesan administration. In his decisions, he has been firm, constant, and sensitive to all the circumstances which relate to the execution of policies set for the good of souls. His pastoral insights have been realistic and practical. In this time of renewal and reform, Monsignor Bernardin will contribute his talent and ability for the good of the Universal Church and for the uplifting of humanity. Especially do my prayers go with him now, my brother bishop. May God bless him abundantly. Auxiliary Bishop For Atlanta
Msgr. Bernardin From Charleston, Msgr. Joseph L. Bernardin, 37, of Charleston, S.C. has been named by Pope Paul VI the new auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, it was announced yesterday by the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, and the Metropolitan of Atlanta, Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan. The southern born prelate has served as chancellor under four Charleston bishops.
The consecration of Bishop-elect Bernardin will take place on Tuesday, April 26 in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston. It will be the first ceremony of its kind to occur in Charleston in this century. Details of the consecration will be announced soon. The new bishop will arrive in Atlanta about a week after his consecration to take up his new duties as auxiliary bishop to the archbishop.
I had one thought in mind when I requested the Holy Father to send us an auxiliary, Archbishop Hallinan stated this morning, that the Church in northern Georgia would be better served. Pope Paul in answer to this request has sent us a vigorous and apostolic priest who sees openings as opportunities, and difficulties as a challenge to greater faith and action.
Bishop-elect Bernardins record of pastoral and administrative service has touched almost every part of Catholic life. Ordained April 26, 1952 (the date now chosen for his consecration) in Columbia, S.C. by Bishop John J. Russell, he served as assistant pastor in St. Josephs and the Cathedral in Charleston, and instructor in Bishop England High School, with additional assignments as Newman Chaplain at the Citadel, and director of the Catholic Youth Organization.
Appointed to the Chancery in 1954, he became chancellor in 1956, and continued in this post under Bishop Russell, Bishop Hallinan (1958-1962); Bishop Francis Reh (1962-1964) and the present ordinary, Bishop Ernest Unterkoefler. He was appointed director of Catholic Charities in 1956, vicar general in 1962, consultor in 1964, and was elected administrator of the Diocese of Charleston when Bishop Reh became rector of the North American College in Rome.
Pope John XXIII appointed him papal chamberlain in 1959 and domestic prelate in 1962.
In view of Atlantas Synod in November of this year, Bishop Bernardin will bring wide experience to assist Father Michael Mannings team of synod committees. He was secretary of the Charleston Synod in May 1958. A leader in interracial and anti-poverty programs, he also headed the Diocesan Development Fund which has netted more than $100,000 annually for the past five years. Revitalization of the liturgy, religious vocations and ecumenical efforts in Charleston have been largely due to the assistance of Bishop Bernardin that he has given to bishops and priests. Priests, sisters and laity know him as a priest you can talk to. His educational background includes Columbia High School and a year at the University of South Carolina in addition to St. Marys College in Kentucky and St. Marys Seminary in Baltimore. He received his Masters Degree at the Catholic University of America. He attended the fourth session of the Second Vatican Council last fall as peritus and secretary to Bishop Unterkoefler. He is known to many Atlanta priests, and will be remembered as the speaker chosen to express the congratulations of the Charleston clergy to Archbishop Hallinan when he was installed in Atlanta in 1962.
Auxiliary Bishop For Atlanta, Bishop-Elects Statement
While I am aware of the personal dimensions of the honor which his Holiness Pope Paul VI has conferred upon me in appointing me Titular Bishop of Lugura, and auxiliary to the Most Reverend Paul J. Hallinan, Archbishop of Atlanta, I am also mindful of the fact that the Diocese of Charleston and its devoted clergy have been honored by this appointment and for this I am deeply grateful to his Holiness.
I am also most grateful to Bishop Unterkoefler and the former bishops of Charleston whom I have served as well as the priests, sisters and laity for everything which they have contributed to my priesthood. If I have anything to offer to the Church as a bishop, it is due next to Gods grace to their counsel and help and understanding during these 14 years.
The Church in the South has witnessed a significant growth in recent years. This growth was reflected several years ago in the establishment of Atlanta as an archdiocese and as an ecclesiastical province. It will now be my privilege to work with Archbishop Hallinan serving the people of Northern Georgia. I look forward to many years of friendly association and collaboration with Catholics of the archdiocese, as well as members of all faiths. In particular, I look forward to a close and fruitful relationship with Archbishop Hallinan, whom I came to know so well while he was Bishop of Charleston.
I am deeply aware of the grave responsibilities which are inherent in the office of a bishop. It is only because I know that God will give me the strength that I need to fill this office that I accept it with confidence. To this end, I ask the prayers of all my co-workers and friends in Charleston as well as those of the people whom I shall serve in Atlanta.