Ohio bishop tapped to lead Hartford, Connecticut diocese

Vatican City, Oct 29, 2013 / 06:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio to lead the diocese of Hartford, Connecticut, following the retirement of the diocese's previous archbishop.

“With joy we welcome the news that Our Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Leonard P. Blair of the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, to be the new Archbishop of Hartford,” outgoing Archbishop Henry J. Mansell said Oct. 29.

Bishop Blair, 64, will be replacing the 76-year-old Archbishop Mansell who has headed the Hartford diocese since 2003 until his recent application for resignation, having passed the age of retirement.

Born in Detroit in 1949, Bishop Blair was ordained to the priesthood in 1976 following the completion of his studies at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, as well as both the North American College and the Gregorian University in Rome.

He holds numerous degrees, including a Bachelor's degree in History, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology, a Licentiate in Theology with a specialization in Patristics and the History of Theology, as well as Doctorate in Theology.

In 2003, Bishop Blair was appointed by Bl. Pope John Paul II to lead the diocese of Toledo, Ohio, and has held the position for the last 10 years until his Oct. 29 appointment to Hartford.

Previous assignments of the bishop include his positions as ecumenical officer for the Archdiocese of Detroit, dean of studies and assistant professor of Theology at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary College, and service in the Papal Secretariat of State Office in Vatican City.

Other job assignments of Bishop Blair have included his role as the administrative secretary to the Archbishop of Detroit, vicar general and chancellor of the Archdiocese of Detroit, instructor in Church history and patristics at St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, and archivist for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

“We welcome Archbishop-designate Blair with respect and appreciation for the distinguished record he has already accomplished,” Archbishop Mansell said in his statement, adding that the new leader will receive a warm reception from “the clergy, religious, and laypeople of the Archdiocese.”

Bishop Blair will be officially introduced as the new archbishop at an Oct. 29 press conference held in the Archdiocesan Center at Saint Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut at 10 a.m. local time.

Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, which is headquartered in the archdiocese, welcomed Archbishop Blair.

"Throughout his time in Michigan, at the Vatican and most recently in Ohio, our Archbishop-designate has shown himself to be a quintessential pastor and shepherd," Anderson said.

"We thank Pope Francis for this outstanding appointment and stand ready to assist our new Archbishop in whatever ways we can. As our brother Knight for more than 19 years, we hope he will find in this appointment something of a homecoming."

Archbishop Blair's installation Mass will take place  Monday, Dec. 16 at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph.

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