08 June 2009

The Decree of Appointment

Since Wednesday's unexpected announcement of Pope Benedict XVI's appointment of the Most Reverend George J. Lucas as the Archbishop of Omaha, many of the high school students have asked me a rather clever question.

Realizing His Excellency was no longer the Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois but the Administrator, the students asked if I still had to leave the parish in September. Their affection for me and their desire to have me remain here is deeply humbling; I am continually baffled at the profound I seem to have had in their lives. I can only look back on these past four years with wonder and joy. Being here with them has truly been one of the greatest joys of my life and I am deeply grateful to God for the many blessings he has worked in my life through them and in their lives through me, as I am also grateful to the students themselves.

Even so, I accept this new assignment as the Lord's will for my life and am confident that it will be filled with many blessings and joys.

At any rate, the short answer to their question is yes.

In order for a transfer from one office to another to take effect - in this case from the office of Parochial Vicar to the office of Pastor - it "must be communicated in writing" (canon 190, 3). On the 26th of May, eight days before his appointment to the See of Omaha, then-Bishop Lucas signed the Decree of Appointment; I received it the next day. Because he was at that time the Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, the Decree stands.

The decree reads as follows:
Decree of Appointment
By this decree, I appoint
The Reverend Daren J. Zehnle
to be Pastor (c. 519) of Sacred Heart Parish, Virden, Illinois, and of Saint Patrick Parish, Girard, Illinois, from parochial vicar of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, Effingham, Illinois, effective September 15, 2009.
I dispense him from any partiular ritual of taking canonical possession of these parishes, and ask that he communicate this to the parishes (c. 527, 2).
He is to return the completed oath of office (c. 833, 6) to me as soon as possible after the date of his appointment.
I think I will post the oath of office tomorrow.

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