Pope Francis Appoints Bishop Henning as Coadjutor Bishop of Providence

As coadjutor, Bishop Henning will assist Bishop Thomas Tobin in the administration of the Rhode Island diocese and should succeed him as bishop upon his retirement, expected once Bishop Tobin turns 75 next April.

Bishop Richard Henning
Bishop Richard Henning (photo: Courtesy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre)

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Richard Henning as a coadjutor bishop of Providence on Wednesday.

As coadjutor, Bishop Henning will assist Bishop Thomas Tobin in the administration of the Rhode Island diocese and should succeed him as bishop upon his retirement, expected once Bishop Tobin turns 75 next April.

The Diocese of Providence is home to more than 603,000 Catholics. In the Vatican’s announcement on Nov. 23, Pope Francis also accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Evans, 75, who served as an auxiliary bishop of Providence for the past 13 years.

Bishop Henning, an auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre since 2018, reacted to his appointment with gratitude.

“On this eve of the Thanksgiving Feast, I give thanks to Almighty God ‘from Whom all blessings flow!’”

The bishop added that he was thankful for “the opportunity to learn” from Bishop Tobin and “for the many people who have offered me their love and their witness of lived faith … and sustained me, sharing in the work of proclaiming the Gospel.”

“As I express gratitude, I entrust myself to the grace of our merciful God and ask the Lord to grant the strength and faith necessary for the ministry that I will exercise in the Church of Providence,” he said.

Bishop Henning, 58, was born in Rockville Centre as the first of five children. After earning a master’s degree in history from St. John’s University in Queens in 1988, he entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and was ordained a priest for the Rockville Centre Diocese in 1992.

After receiving a licentiate in biblical theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington in 2000, Bishop Henning began to teach sacred Scripture at his former seminary.

He continued his studies in Rome, earning a doctorate in biblical theology from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome in 2007, and was named rector of the seminary and director of an institute for ongoing formation for clergy in 2012.

Nishop Henning enjoys sailing, boating, and kayaking. In addition to English, he speaks Spanish and Italian and is able to read French, Greek and Hebrew.

As an auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre, Bishop Henning worked closely with Bishop John Barres on driving missionary growth and parish evangelization, according to the diocese.

Bishop Barres speaks highly of Bishop Henning as “an erudite biblical scholar” who “combines a deep knowledge of the Scriptures with a tremendous passion for the Word of God,” adding: “Bishop Richard Henning is a wise pastor, a gifted theologian, and a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. In him, the Diocese of Providence truly receives a good shepherd.” 

As part of Jewish-Christian dialogue, a joint concert was given on Sept. 4, 2021, in the Dohány Street Synagogue by the Solti Chamber Orchestra in Budapest. Hungary.

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