Providence welcomes Coadjutor Bishop Richard Henning, bishop in waiting

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island welcomed Coadjutor Bishop of Providence Richard Henning to the diocese during a reception mass at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.

Henning will take over for Bishop Thomas Tobin after he retires this spring. Tobin has served the diocese for 17 years and will resign at the age of 75.

Henning was appointed to the position of Tobin’s successor in the fall by Pope Francis.

“The first thing I did was google Rhode Island,” said Henning during his homily Thursday. “One of the things that popped up first was an image of the flag of the state.”

He continued, “I’m going to live in the state of hope, and I hope I am a man of hope. I hope we all are.”

Henning served most recently as the Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre in New York.

Father Justin Bolger, chaplain at Providence College, said he expects a different leadership style from Henning. But the message of the Church will remain the same.

“The perennial truths of our faith must be presented,” Bolger explained Thursday. “You may not agree with the Catholic Church and her teachings. However, I see that she is consistent — the way the church teaches and is trying to tell those consistent teachings in a way that answers the questions of our age.”

Tobin has received backlash for his stances against gay marriage and abortion rights.

During his homily, Henning emphasized the unity needed for the Church and Diocese of Providence to flourished.

He concluded, “After all, we live in the state of hope.”

Tobin and Henning will work together into the spring.

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