An invitation from Bishop Punt

Bishop elect Jan Hendriks, with Bishop Jos Punt and emeritus Bishop Jan van Burgsteden, at today´s press conference

Following the news of the appointment of Msgr. Jan Hendriks as auxiliary bishop and the retirement of Msgr. Jan van Burgsteden as his predecessor, Bishop Jos Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam published the following ‘Word from the Bishop’ on the diocesan website:

“Brothers and sisters,

With joy and gratitude I can inform you that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a new auxiliary bishop for our diocese. He is Msgr. Dr. J.W.M. Hendriks, until now the rector of the diocesan seminary and delegate for ecclesial education in our diocese. He is 57 years years old, has great pastoral, administrative and scientific experience and enjoys wide familiarity and appreciation in our diocese. I have all confidence that in his new office he will equally be of major value for our diocese.

Earlier I had asked the Holy Father to appoint a new auxiliary bishop as successor of Msgr. J.G.M. van Burgsteden s.s.s., who reached the age of 75 on 8 December 2010, and by now has been serving in ‘extra time’ for almost a year. I am extraordinary grateful to Msgr. van Burgsteden for all the good that he has done for our diocese in the past 11 years. In that time he has won a valued place in the hearts of many, and certainly also in mine. I am pleased that he has indicated that he wishes to fulfill a few duties for our diocese as emeritus bishop.

The consecration of Msgr. Hendriks and the ‘farewell’ of Msgr. van Burgsteden will take place on Saturday 10 December 2011. The ceremony will begin at 11:00 in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Bavo in Haarlem. Subsequently there will be time to  wish the departing and the new auxiliary bishop well.

Considering that the consecration and the farewell take place fairly close to New Year’s Eve, you will understand that we also take the opportunity to already share our best wishes with the bishops and each other. There will therefore be no separate new year’s reception in January 2012.

In these weeks of preparation I ask your special prayer for Msgr. Jan Hendriks and for our diocese. I very much hope that 10 December may be a festive day for our diocese and that many of you will want to celebrate with us. Everyone is very much invited.”

+Mgr. Dr. Jozef M. Punt
Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam

Photo credit: RKK/Robbert Jan Bron

A long expected appointment

Bishop elect Jan Hendriks in the courtyard of the Tiltenberg seminary

Earlier today, several news channels broke the news that Msgr. Dr. Johannes Willibrordus Maria (Jan for short) Hendriks has been appointed as the new auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam. Katholiek Nieuwsblad and Rorate both published the appointment about 90 minutes before the usual embargo was lifted at noon. Katholiek Nieuwsblad evidently realised their error and retracted the news item, before republishing it at the proper time.

The appointment comes as virtually no surprise. The name of Hendriks widely circulated when Rotterdam became vacant earlier this year, and some also mentioned him for Breda, which remains vacant still. Msgr. Hendriks is a priest of the Diocese of Rotterdam, although he has been working in the neighbouring Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam for years, most recently as rector of the Tiltenberg seminary, canon of the cathedral chapter, and canon lawyer for the legal court of Haarlem-Amsterdam. Since 2004, he has also been a consultor for the Congregation for the Clergy.

The bishop elect is a productive author, having written books and articles about such topics as canon law, the Blessed Virgin, celibacy, Vatican II and education, and various others.

The new auxiliary bishop succeeds Bishop Jan van Burgsteden, whose retirement was approved at the same time at Msgr. Hendriks’ appointment. The amiable and much-loved Van Burgsteden has been auxiliary bishop since 2000, and turned 75 in December. Despite his age, he travelled down to Madrid for August’s World Youth Days and would probably be able to function a while longer as auxiliary.

As auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Hendriks will hold the titular see of Arsacal, located in modern Algeria. The date of his consecration is announced as 10 December, but whether or not it can take place in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Bavo, which is undergoing extensive restorations, remains to be seen.

As motto, the bishop elect chose a quote from the Gospel of John: “Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite” (“Do whatever He tells you”).

And lastly for now, fittingly for an active Facebook user, Msgr. Hendriks releases his first statement via that medium: “Today it’s been announced that I have been appointed as auxiliary bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam, with Arsacal as titular see. Heartfelt thanks to all who pray for me and wished me well.”

The bishop, clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam have received a kindhearted and intelligent auxiliary bishop and vicar general who will undoubtedly prove to be an able shepherd for the Church.

Photo credit: RKK