Hamilton Bishop Douglas Crosby lays his hands on the head of his new auxiliary, Bishop Daniel Miehm. Miehm was ordained a bishop in a ceremony May 7 at Hamilton's Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King. Photo by Tony Gosgnach

Miehm ordained as auxiliary bishop for Hamilton

By  Tony Gosgnach, Catholic Register Special
  • May 9, 2013

HAMILTON, ONT. - Surprised, grateful, humbled and excited.

 

Those were the words Daniel Joseph Miehm used to describe his reaction to being named the new auxiliary bishop for the diocese of Hamilton as one of the last papal acts of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI Feb. 20. He was ordained to the episcopal position at a Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King on May 7, an event attended by 22 other bishops, including his predecessor, Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines, and Cardinal Thomas Collins, as well as a legion of priests, deacons, religious and laypeople from the diocese.

 

“I was very surprised, I will say that, because I had just undertaken a new ministry in the town of Milton,” said Miehm in an interview the day before the ordination. “One recognizes that there are others who could have been called to this kind of ministry, but the call happened to come to me.”

He added he has never been one to say no to a call from God and tries to remain open to the actions of the Holy Spirit.

“So, even though the timing of it was in some ways a surprise, I felt I had to be ready to accept once the call was given.”

Miehm has served as a member and representative of various councils of the diocese. From 1996 to 2012, he served on the Toronto Regional Marriage Tribunal and has been chaplain of the St. Thomas More Lawyers Guild.

Miehm said the exact scope of his responsibilities has yet to be established by himself and Bishop Douglas Crosby.

“We have not had a lot of conversation about specifics around that … Clearly, it seems to be Bishop Crosby’s intent that I will function with him as a close collaborator.”

Miehm sees Catholic education and the support of the priests of his diocese as particular priorities. And in our current era of indifference and sometimes hostility to the Christian faith, Miehm said he takes his role as an evangelizer seriously.

“There’s no question today that a bishop, or really anyone in pastoral ministry, is called to be an evangelizer,” he said.

“We have to set priorities that promote the proclamation of the Gospel. So it can’t just be a matter of maintenance ministry, as it were. We’re being called to boldly proclaim the truth of the Gospel. But I think a big part of that … is finding positive ways … to emphasize that which we affirm in the Catholic Church and not just frame things in terms of the negative and the ‘thou shalt nots,’ but what the Church stands for in terms of life and the dignity of all human persons and the importance of the relationship with God, whose children we are.”

Crosby, who served as principal consecrator with Bishop emeritus Anthony Tonnos of Hamilton and Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, expressed in his homily words of gratitude to Miehm for accepting the office.

“Thank you for accepting the appointment of the Holy Father … We know that your acceptance was motivated primarily by your love for Christ and for the Church and also by your care and concern for the people of the diocese of Hamilton.”

Crosby added that the role of a bishop is to serve, not to be served.

“You are already well known in the parishes where you have served for your humility and for your self-deprecating sense of humour. Now, you will be a good and credible example of Christ-like behaviour for the entire diocese.”

Following a walk through the cathedral to rounds of applause while imparting a blessing to those present, Miehm said the day was exhilarating for him and he offered thanks to Benedict XVI for the appointment, as well as to his family.

“Today, I give thanks to almighty God for 24 years of priesthood, and now for the gift of the fullness of the priesthood in the episcopacy … I thank (Crosby) for all your kindness in the past and for shepherding me through this process over the last several months … I look forward, Bishop Crosby, to a long and close collaboration with you for the benefit of the people of this diocese of Hamilton.”

(Gosgnach is a freelance writer in Hamilton, Ont.)

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