Pope Francis Taps Alum of Benedictine College as Bishop
Bishop-elect Cozzens in 2008.
Pope Francis has named Father Andrew H. Cozzens, Benedictine College class of 1991, new auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the United States and titular bishop of Bisica.
Many Benedictine College graduates have served the Church as bishops — Bishop Cozzens is the fifth Raven Bishop since the year 2000.
At the time of his new appointment, Father Cozzens was assistant professor at St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Cozzens was born in 1968 in Stamford, Conn. At Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, he earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and philosophy with a minor in Journalism. He was a member of Ravens Respect Life and features editor of The Circuit.
“We are very excited to have another Raven bishop,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis. “It shows that the Benedictine College education is truly forming Catholics at the service of the Church. This is why we are called the Flagship College of the New Evangelization.”
In a 1990 Circuit, Cozzens reflected on the faith life at Benedictine College:
“The Eucharist is truly a community event, especially at Benedictine where students know each other so well,” Cozzens wrote. “At the Mass, friends join together truly united; united by faith.”
Benedictine College chaplain Father Brendan Rolling remembered him fondly. “He was an amazing leader and friend as a student. He was a student editor of the school paper, a founding officer of Ravens Respect Life and a resident assistant of St. Joseph Hall,” he said. “His efforts in Net and SPO strengthened the presence of these movements at Benedictine College.”
Father Matthew Habiger, former president of Human Life International, knew Cozzens as a student. “Bishop elect Andrew Cozzens, and his fellow Ravens Respect Life, helped Benedictine College rediscover the dynamism and dignity of its Catholic identity in the late 1980s,” he said. “Benedictine College was a good testing ground for him.”
Father Joseph Taphorn, class of 1993, reflected on the number of leaders for the Church who got started at Benedictine College.
“It’s something to be proud of as an institution that so many men and women choose priesthood and consecrated life and so many of those become leaders in the Church,” he said. “You see the Church recognizing and perfecting the good work that began during the college years at Benedictine.”
Father Taphorn is a former roommate of Abbot James Albers and traveled to World Youth Day in Denver with Father Rolling. He is a Church leader himself, former chancellor and now Moderator of the Curia, Vicar for Clergyand Judicial Vicar in the Omaha archdiocese.
There is a proud tradition of Raven bishops in the Church. Alumni bishops include:
- Andrew Cozzens, class of 1991, named auxiliary bishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis in 2013.
- John B. Brungardt, class of 1980, named the bishop of Dodge City, Kan., in 2010.
- Our first bishop, Henry Tihen, Class of 1882, was named Bishop of Lincoln, Neb., in 1911 and then served as Bishop of Denver from 1917 until 1931.
- Thomas Francis Lillis, Class of 1885, was Bishop of Leavenworth, Kan., from 1913 to 1938.
- Harry Anselm Clinch, Class of 1928, served as Bishop of Monterey, Cal., from 1967 to 1982, Emeritus until his death in 2003.
- Thomas Joseph Drury, Class of 1930, was named Bishop of San Angelo, Texas, in 1961 and then served as Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas, from 1965 to 1983.
- Ignatius J. Strecker, Class of 1939, served as Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas from 1969 to 1993, and Emeritus until his death in 2003.
- John Joseph Sullivan, Class of 1941, served as Bishop of Grand Island, Neb., from 1972 to 1977 and Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph from 1977 to 1993, and Bishop Emeritus until his death in 2001.
- Matthias Schmidt, Class of 1954, was named Auxiliary Bishop of Jatai, Brazil in 1972 and then Bishop of Rui Barbaso, Jatai, Brazil, in 1976, where he served until his death in 1992.
- Herbert Hermes, Class of 1955, served as Bishop of the Prelacy of Cristalandia, Brazil, from 1990 to 2009.
- Denis James Madden, Class of 1963, was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore in 2005.
Cozzens was ordained in 1997 and served at two parishes before moving to Rome for graduate studies. He earned his licentiate (2002) and doctorate (2008) in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). For four years during his time in Rome, he served as chaplain for the Missionaries of Charity.
Cozzens is also a founding member of the priestly association Companions of Christ.
Cozzens also served on National Evangelization Teams (NET) for one year and then was co-director of Campus Outreach, St. Paul’s Outreach in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
“He has a great sense of humor and a profound faith that has always been contagious to those he is around,” said Sam Schoenfelder, the Kansas director of St. Paul’s Outreach. “Saint Paul’s Outreach is very excited to have such a dear friend and brother in Chirst called to such service in the Church.”
Cozzens has served as assistant director for the Office for Worship and is a member of the Mission Advisory Council and Corporate Board of the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, of St. Paul’s Outreach Board of Directors in Saint Paul, and co-chaplain of the Serra Club of the Twin Cities.
Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.