Catholics in Louisiana received good news this morning when they woke up to hear that Pope Benedict had appointed Bishop Gregory Aymond, a New Orleans native, to head an archdiocese still dealing with the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
Archbishop-designate Aymond will be leaving the Diocese of Austin, Texas to become the 14th archbishop of New Orleans, taking the baton from Archbishop Alfred Hughes, who reached the canonical age of retirement 18 months ago.
Today's appointment marks the first time that a New Orleans native will shepherd the archdiocese. Born in 1949, Archbishop-designate Aymond attended Notre Dame seminary in New Orleans and was ordained in 1975. His first assignments after ordination were as a parish priest and a high school teacher, before returning to Notre Dame as a professor.
In 1997, Aymond was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop for New Orleans and then on August 3, 2000 he became the Bishop of Austin, Texas.
According to the Diocese of Austin's website, the diocese has seen unprecedented growth since Aymond's arrival. Highlights of the diocese's accomplishments include "the development of an Institute for Spiritual Direction; the opening of San Juan Diego Catholic High School, which specifically targets financially disadvantaged students; a program with St. Mary’s University in San Antonio that allows lay people in the Austin Diocese to obtain a master’s degree in theology using distance learning technology; three-fold increase in the number of seminarians; and the establishment of an Institute for Ecclesial Ministry."
The installation Mass for Archbishop-designate Gregory Aymond is scheduled for Thursday, August 20, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. in St. Louis Cathedral.