On February 14, 1989, Francis Bible Schulte was installed as the twelfth Archbishop of New Orleans. A quiet, behind-the-scenes administrator, he spent the first years familiarizing himself with his flock - clergy, religious, laity, pastors, teachers, social workers, department heads, eucharistic ministers - all who form the archdiocesan family. With an eye towards using archdiocesan resources wisely, the archbishop revamped the archdiocese's many ministries, apostolates, programs, and services in 1991. Six departments - Clergy, Religious, Christian Formation, Community Services, Financial Services, and Pastoral Services - were created to direct and coordinate the ministries of archdiocesan offices and programs.
In 1989, a comprehensive study of archdiocesan schools was undertaken. Since the study was completed, five new schools have been opened: Marian Central Catholic Middle School, Bishop Perry Middle School, St. Benedict the Moor School, Henriette Delille Middle School, and Mary Queen of Peace School in Mandeville. Several smaller schools in the city and suburbs have closed.
A new mission statement was promulgated in 1992, one that emphasized the multi-cultural composition of the archdiocesan family as well as the Church's commitment to proclaim and embody the Good News of Jesus Christ, to build a peaceful kingdom, and to be a servant to all regardless of social condition or religious affiliation.
In 1990, a finance council of local business leaders was established. Central accounting procedures were standardized. Departmental budgeting, reporting, and accountability were put in place. Regular internal audits of parishes and schools were initiated. A decade later, the archdiocese's 1989 external debt of $12 million was eliminated, despite continued, though restrained expansion.
The year 1993 marked the bicentennial of the creation of the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas. A series of programs and celebrations marked the occasion, including a volume of original historical articles, Cross, Crozier, and Crucible: A Volume Celebrating the Bicentennial of a Diocese in Louisiana, a special bicentennial issue of the Clarion Herald on April 22, a bicentennial exhibit of both local and international art at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the composition of a special bicentennial Mass, the celebration of a bicentennial Mass at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena, and a capital campaign that surpassed its $20 million goal to establish an endowment for Notre Dame Seminary, needy Catholic schools, and retired and infirm priests.
During the 2000 Holy Year, New Orleans was recognized at two special events in Rome. On April 9, Father Francis Xavier Seelos, who served New Orleans immigrant communities before his death in 1867, was beatified. On October 1, Mother Katharine Drexel, foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and Xavier University in New Orleans, was canonized.
Other 2000 highlights included the initiation of a major fund drive to restore historic St. Louis Cathedral, the opening of Henriette Delille Middle School to serve economically deprived girls, the appointment of Bishop Gregory Aymond, a priest of the archdiocese and rector-president of Notre Dame Seminary, as Coadjutor Bishop of Austin, Texas, and the presentation of the first Archbishop Silvano Tomasi Award for ethnic ministry by the United States Migration and Refugee Services to Msgr. Dominic Luong, pastor of Mary Queen of Vietnam Parish in New Orleans.
During the year 2000, the archdiocese continued to reach out to the local community. More than 175,000 people were served by programs directed by Catholic Charities, the Social Apostolate, Christopher Homes, the Apostleship of the Sea, and Second Harvesters.
In 1996, the archdiocese began a five-year parish planning and self-study program - Catholic Life: 2000. Each parish undertook a detailed, broad-based self-study. These in turn were reviewed and coordinated at the deanery and archdiocesan levels. As one result of this process, on March 4, 2001, Archbishop Schulte, at the recommendation of the Cathedral deanery, announced that five parishes - Annunciation, St. Cecilia, St. Gerard (for the hearing-impaired), Sts. Peter and Paul, and St. Vincent de Paul - will be merged on July 1 into a new parish, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. The new parish will use the church and facilities of St. Vincent de Paul.
On May 2, 2001, Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes was installed as Coadjutor Archbishop of New Orleans and successor to Archbishop Schulte. At the installation ceremony, Archbishop Hughes stated that the church is being challenged to "evangelize the culture. Human life has to be the defining issue."
Two weeks later, Msgr. Thomas J. Rodi, archdiocesan Moderator of the Curia, Vicar General, and Chancellor, was named the second bishop of Biloxi, Mississippi. Bishop-designate Rodi will be installed on July 2.
Other Significant Dates
||1000 Howard Avenue Building is purchased to consolidate archdiocesan offices, particularly those serving the wider community
||The long-range plan for archdiocesan Catholic schools is completed