On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, the Congregation of Holy Cross joined the People of God in the Diocese of Saint Cloud, Minnesota, in the United States to celebrate the Episcopal Ordination and Installation of the Most Rev. Patrick Neary, C.S.C. He is the 10th bishop to serve the diocese, replacing the retiring Bishop Donald Kettler.
Over 50 Holy Cross religious traveled to Minnesota to take part in the celebration, including the Most Rev. William A. Wack, C.S.C., Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, who was one of two principal co-consecrators. Another Holy Cross bishop the Most Rev. Jorge Izaguirre, C.S.C., Bishop Prelate of the Territorial Prelature of Chuquibamba, Peru was also present.
Also present were Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., Superior General of the Congregation, who proclaimed the first reading at the Ordination and Installation Mass, and Fr. William Lies, Superior of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers.
“Having personally known him for several years, I can attest that Bishop Neary is a true son of Blessed Basile Moreau. He is a prayerful man who knows Jesus Christ, who loves the Church, and who is filled with apostolic zeal to make God known, loved, and served,” said Br. Bednarczyk. “Bishop Neary has always led with pastoral sensitivity and with great integrity. I am confident that he will continue his same leadership as Shepherd to the People of God in St. Cloud.”
Watch Bishop Patrick Neary's Solemn Vespers Service
The evening before Bishop Neary’s Ordination, hundreds gathered in a packed St. Mary’s Cathedral to celebrate Solemn Vespers and pray for their new shepherd. Vespers began with Bishop Neary knocking on the door of the cathedral, where Fr. Scott Pogtachnik, Rector, welcomed him as the new pastor.
In his homily at Vespers, Fr. Lies, whose family hails from the Diocese, reminded Bishop Neary: “The shepherd protects for sure, and leads and guides. The shepherd revives. The shepherd accompanies. The shepherd nourishes and feeds. The shepherd sets a table of welcome and hospitality in the difficult moments of life. The shepherd is the gate, not just of protection, but to freedom and life. A good shepherd is always leading to abundance.”
Fr. Lies concluded his homily calling on Bishop Neary to “lead us to the abundance promised us in Christ, to the green pastures, to the still waters, to the table that is set and the cup that is overflowing. Help us to find it, and remind us of what really matters most. And we will help you too. Together, with you as our shepherd, we will be the heart of mercy, the voice of hope, and the hands of justice.”
The Ordination and Installation Mass was held the following day at the Cathedral, which once again was filled with worshipers, including Bishop Neary’s parents and family. Just like the Solemn Vespers the night prior, the Mass was bilingual.
The Most Rev. Bernard Hebda, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, was the principal consecretor. Joining Bishop Wack as the other principal co-consecrator was the Most Rev. Peter Smith, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, where Bishop Neary was serving as Pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish at the time of his appointment by Pope Francis on December 15, 2022.
Watch Bishop Neary's Episcopal Ordination
Following the Mass, there was a reception in the Park Event Center in Waite Park.
Bishop Neary is the oldest of six children of Jacob and Marybelle Neary of Laporte, Indiana. He attended the University of Notre Dame as a seminarian with the Congregation of Holy Cross in the Old College formation program, graduating with a BA in history in 1985.
Bishop Neary entered the Holy Cross Novitiate the following August in Cascade, Colorado. He received his Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, in 1990. He also spent a year in Chile, where he perfected Spanish that he had previously learned studying in Mexico. Bishop Neary took Final Vows in the Congregation in September 1990 and then was ordained to the priesthood on April 6, 1991.
After serving as a deacon and then associate pastor of St. John Vianney Parish, Goodyear, Arizona, he was assigned to serve as Assistant Vocations Director and work in Campus Ministry at the University of Notre Dame from 1994-1997. From there, he joined the formation staff at Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Indiana. Beginning as the Director of Postulants, he was named the Rector of the Seminary, serving in that role from 2004-2010.
At that time, Bishop Neary was assigned as Rector of McCauley Formation House in Nairobi, Kenya. Two years later he was elected Superior of the District of East Africa, and served six years. Finishing his time in the missions in East Africa, Bishop Neary returned to the United States, where he took up his current role as Pastor of Holy Redeemer Church in Portland, Oregon.
With the Ordination of Bishop Neary, the Congregation of Holy Cross currently has 14 bishops in the world. Five of those bishops are now retired while nine continue serving in their respective dioceses and archdioceses.