Most Reverend Andrew Cozzens, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, was today elected by members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as the new chair of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. At the conclusion of this week’s 2019 Fall General Assembly, Bishop Cozzens will serve for one year as chairman-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the 2020 Fall General Assembly.
After the election this morning, Bishop Cozzens said, “I’m humbled and honored that my brother bishops in the USCCB would choose me to chair the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. This Committee deals with some of the most pressing issues of our time: How do we evangelize the growing number of those who have left behind organized religion? How do we evangelize our youth so they never leave the Church? And, how do we form our people into the missionary disciples Pope Francis has called them to be? We must dedicate ourselves to these essential needs of the Church in our day, because as St. Paul VI said, ‘The Church exists to evangelize!’”
Archbishop Bernard Hebda – who is also attending the Assembly in Baltimore – said, “Bishop Cozzens’ election is a well-deserved recognition of his experience in the areas of catechesis and evangelization, both in our Archdiocese and nationally. He will be a worthy successor to Bishop Robert Barron in this important work. The USCCB will be blessed to have a leader who collaborates so well with bishops and lay experts alike.”
Bishop Cozzens added, “For all of my adult life I have had the privilege of collaborating with lay organizations dedicated to evangelization. I currently chair the boards of directors for both the National Evangelization Teams (NET Ministries) and St. Paul’s Outreach. When I was a young adult, I served as a missionary in both of these national organizations, which were founded in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and now help bring the love of Christ and His Church to youth and young adults around the country. These organizations helped form my own heart with zeal for evangelization. I hope to be of service in bringing that zeal more broadly to our whole Church.”
Bishop Cozzens attended Saint Paul Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 1997. He served at parishes in Saint Paul and Faribault, MN before being sent to Rome for doctoral studies. Upon his return to Minnesota, then-Father Cozzens began service as an instructor at the Saint Paul Seminary. Pope Francis appointed him as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis October 11, 2013 and he was ordained to the Episcopacy December 9, 2013.