I received extremely joyful news this morning, in learning Pope Benedict XVI has elevated my former classmate and good friend Fr. Donald Hying to Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee Archdiocese. This truly is a joyful and monumental happening and those who know Fr. Hying can only hope and pray for a long life and a very successful transition into the new role of shepherd for the Archdiocese.
Fr. Hying and I spoke this morning, and when he told me how he was feeling, and saw this elevation as ‘unbelievable’, I reminded him of our dinner conversation last February that I thought he was being groomed for Bishop, and that he would make a very good Bishop. Fr. Hying, in his meek way, mentioned he was looking forward to wrapping up his tenure as Rector of St. Francis seminary to get back into the work he loved the most: active parish ministry. So, I am not surprised at Fr. Hying’s elevation to Bishop.
This is a man who is extremely intelligent, but who also has a heart for the people. When I would visit with him at his various parish assignments, he would greet all of his parishioners by name, and knew so much about each one of them, that it was very apparent he had care and compassion for all of the sheep in his fold. Fr. Hying also lived out his commitment to Jesus Christ and to his church. I don’t recollect any ambiguity in his teachings and beliefs that would give one pause as to what Fr. Hying stands for.
I am very pleased the Church made this decision. So while Fr. Hying may be surprised by this elevation as a parish priest and Rector of a Seminary, I am more pleasantly surprised at the fact the Church elevated a man who will truly lead this large flock in a solid Catholic path and will not be deterred by phoniness and hype (and pride). I was joking with him (half joking) that he may be promoted as Archbishop some day, and then may be elevated to Cardinal, in which he would be eligible to vote for pope (or be elected pope himself). His response was ‘well, that’s really projecting some things”. Yep, it is, and I will take full responsibility for that statement.
Fr. Hying is the right man for the right position in these turbulent times. I hope the people and priests of the Arch Diocese of Milwaukee know how God has blessed them with a shepherd of this quality. Fr. Hying has always been a man with a heart for the people and a man of prayer. Now he will be able to demonstrate these qualities in a way that will be more visible, but more importantly in a very influential way.
God Bless you, and I love you brother.