ANTIGONISH: The Bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish will soon be leaving the region.
On April 13, the Diocese of Antigonish issued a press release confirming that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Brian Dunn as the Coadjutor Archbishop for the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth.
Archbishop Anthony Mancini remains Archbishop of Halifax-Yarmouth until he resigns on his 75th birthday (in November 2020) as stipulated by the Code of Canon Law. Once Pope Francis accepts Mancini’s resignation, Bishop Dunn will succeed Mancini without delay.
“The Coadjutor Archbishop is really kind’ve of an assistant to the Archbishop, with the right to succeed him when he retires,” Dunn told The Reporter. “His date of retirement is November 2020, but he could retire earlier…”
Bishop Dunn has also been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Antigonish. He will continue to reside in Antigonish for the near future while serving both dioceses.
“So I continue to look after Antigonish until a Bishop is announced and installed here in the diocese.”
Explaining the timeline for such moves is “usually six or seven months,” Dunn said there are two other Atlantic Canadian diocese also without Bishops which could influence that schedule.
Installed as Antigonish Bishop on January 25, 2010, Dunn said he has “mixed emotions.”
“When I think about all the people that I’ve worked with and encountered here in the diocese, it’s been a wonderful time of support, and it’s been challenging times as well,” Dunn said. “There’s been lots of support here in the diocese, especially with the priests and the deacons and the people who are involved with ministry in a permanent way. It’s been a wonderful group of people that I’ve come to depend on and find support in. Leaving that group will be very difficult.”
Considering the work undertaken – like the settlement with victims of sexual abuse in the diocese, and the divestiture of diocesan properties like churches and halls – Dunn acknowledged there remains much work to do during this challenging time in the history of the Catholic Church.
“I think any diocese now has their hands full, especially in terms of a number of trends, one is the lack of priests that we have, and also, there seems to be a continuing increase of people just not being connected to the church,” Dunn stated. “So there’s a whole sense of ‘how do you reach out to these people’ and how do you make the church welcoming and an inviting place to be and be connected with so they deal with their own journey in their relationship with God.”
The Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth is currently undergoing a renewal and restructuring process and Bishop Dunn will assume his position in Halifax when his papal letter of appointment is received and presented to the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth.
“I’m looking forward to going there and being involved in the restricting that’s already taking place in Halifax, but leaving here will be a difficult experience for me.”