February 25, 2011

Our New Auxiliary Bishop

‘Trust in the Lord’ is auxiliary bishop’s episcopal motto

By Mary Ann Wyand

“Trust in the Lord.”

It’s an important message for everyone, and it will be the episcopal motto for Bishop-designate Christopher J. Coyne when he is ordained as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis on March 2 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis.

After learning that Pope Benedict XVI had chosen him to assist Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein and serve the Church in central and southern Indiana, Bishop-designate Coyne spent time prayerfully reflecting on Scripture passages for his episcopal motto.

A New Testament verse from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans later came to mind.

“One of my favorite Scripture texts is Romans 8:28,” Bishop-designate Coyne explained. That verse reads, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

“Throughout my life, these words have sustained me when faced with struggles and adversity,” he said. “It is what I try to instill in others. Since it is a bit long for a motto, the words of the prophet Isaiah and the Psalms will suffice. ‘Trust in the Lord’ is kind of an abbreviated version of Romans 8:28.”

His decision about a motto would take some time, he explained to the media during a press conference to announce his appointment as an auxiliary bishop on Jan. 14 at St. John Church.

When asked if he had chosen a motto, Bishop-designate Coyne replied, “No, I haven’t chosen an episcopal motto yet. I did look to see whether ‘It is what it is’ is in the Bible, but it isn’t.”

Following extended laughter from media representatives, the new auxiliary bishop said, “I will be thinking about it. I’m sure it will be short and sweet.”

Popes, cardinals and bishops choose an episcopal motto to represent their personal spirituality, generally turning to Scripture or a passage from a prayer or litany for inspiration.

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein selected his episcopal motto, “Seek the face of the Lord,” while praying in a historic cemetery and noticing that old stone images depicting Jesus’ face had become weathered over the years.

The archbishop’s motto also was inspired by Psalm 27, which reads in part, “ ‘Come,’ says my heart, ‘seek God’s face’; your face, Lord, do I seek!” (Ps 27:8).

A computer concordance search for Bishop-designate Coyne’s episcopal motto, “Trust in the Lord,” reveals dozens of Scripture passages with that phrase.

In the Old Testament, multiple references are found, most often in the Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah and Jeremiah.

“Trust in the Lord and do good that you may dwell in the land and live secure” (Ps 37:3) and “Offer fitting sacrifice and trust in the Lord” (Ps 4:6) are among many similar admonitions in the Book of Psalms to put God first and rely on his care.

A well-known passage from Proverbs reminds believers to always “trust in the Lord with all your heart …” (Prv 3:5).

The prophet Isaiah emphasizes, “Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock” (Is 27:4).

And the prophet Jeremiah explains, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord” (Jer 17:7).

The Gospels and other New Testament books also frequently remind Christians to place their faith and trust in God, who is loving and merciful.

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Christians are told, “Ask and it will be given to you …” (Mt 7:7) and “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 12:28). †

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