The Most Reverend Henry J. Mansell, D.D.
Fourth Archbishop of Hartford
Ordained December 19, 1962, in Rome
Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York November 1992
Ordained Bishop by Pope John Paul II in Rome January 6, 1993
Installed as the twelfth Bishop of Buffalo June 12, 1995
Appointed Archbishop of Hartford October 20, 2003
Installed as the fourth Archbishop of Hartford December 18, 2003
Bishop Henry J. Mansell is a native of New York City and was born on October 10, 1937.
He attended SS. Peter and Paul School in the Bronx and the Cathedral Preparatory Seminary in New York City. He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers in 1959. He attended the North American College and the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, where he earned a licentiate in sacred theology in 1963. He did postgraduate work at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
He was ordained a priest on December 19, 1962, in Rome. He served as a parish priest in various parishes in New York City and Westchester County.
He was appointed director of the Office of Parish Councils in 1972.
In addition to serving on the first Archdiocesan Board of Catholic Education and on the Council of Conciliation for the Archdiocese, he was appointed Vice Chancellor in 1985, Director of Priest Personnel, and three years later was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese.
Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Mansell auxiliary bishop of New York in November 1992.
Pope John Paul II ordained Bishop Mansell a bishop in Rome on January 6, 1993.
Bishop Mansell was installed as the twelfth Bishop of Buffalo on June 12, 1995.
As Bishop of Buffalo:
In September 1995, he began the practice of celebrating daily Mass at the Cathedral. He also arranged to have this Mass videotaped each day and aired on cable channels.
Bishop Mansell visited every parish in the Diocese, most of them multiple times.
In 1996, he instituted the vicariate structure for the Diocese to enable more effective administration and better service for people. Later he established a process of planning for the future of parishes in the Diocese, using the vicariate structure as the instrument for the planning.
Throughout his tenure as Bishop of Buffalo, Bishop Mansell enjoyed a strong relationship with the Council of Priests, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Diocesan Pastoral Council. He also worked closely with the Episcopal Vicars and the Bishop’s Council of the Laity.
He was a member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board of Directors, whose vision is to promote economic and community vitality in Western New York.
It was in February 1996 that Bishop Mansell announced the Catholic Health System, bringing together Catholic hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare agencies operating within the diocese.
Bishop Mansell received honorary doctorates from Niagara University in May 1996, and from St. Bonaventure University in August 1996.
Bishop Mansell launched the diocesan web site (http://www.buffalodiocese.org) on November 15, 1996.
In June 1997, he received the Kenmore Mercy Foundation’s Sister Mechtilde Memorial Award for service.
He received an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Canisius College in May 1997.
Bishop Mansell instituted the practice of regular meetings with the Presidents of the seven Catholic colleges and universities in the Diocese as well as the Principals of sixteen Catholic high schools.
In October 1997, Bishop Mansell introduced the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. This foundation began with a $2 million gift to the Fund for Education. In January 2001, the first Celebrate Catholic Education dinner was held. The annual event is a major fund-raising dinner for Catholic schools in the diocese.
He advanced financial support for Catholic schools each year and instituted a program for the certification of teachers within Catholic schools and in Religious Education Programs for Catholic students in other schools. He also began the process for a strategic plan involving all the schools in the Diocese.
In April of 1997 he began a series of events to mark the 150th anniversary of the diocese. The celebration culminated in a Mass that Bishop Mansell celebrated at the Marine Midland Arena on October 25, 1997.
Also in 1997 he went to Poland for the Eucharistic Congress in Wroclaw, visiting various places in Poland to highlight the strong culture and traditions of the Polish people in the Diocese of Buffalo.
Bishop Mansell also celebrated the contributions of the Italian, Irish and German people of the Diocese by drawing attention to various feasts and historic developments.
From January 23-26, 1998, Bishop Mansell traveled to Cuba to be part of Pope John Paul II’s visit to that island. While there Bishop Mansell met with Fidel Castro.
Bishop Mansell made his first “ad limina” visit as Bishop of Buffalo when he went to the Vatican February 20, 1998.
In May 1998 an increased giving campaign was begun titled Stewardship in Faith. Its purpose was to obtain higher Sunday collections in parishes throughout the diocese. Results showed a 25% increase across the Diocese. Phase II of Stewardship in Faith was launched in November 2001, and met with similar, successful results.
Since coming to the diocese, Bishop Mansell has overseen eight consecutive Catholic Charities appeals, every one exceeding an ever higher goal.
Bishop Mansell has doubled the capacity of the O’Hara residence for Retired Priests in Tonawanda and built the Bishop Head Residence for Retired Priests in Lackawanna.
At St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Bishop Mansell developed the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and restored the Lady Chapel. In 1999, he supervised the renovation of the Cathedral including the installation of a new altar. In June 2001, the Cathedral’s historic Hook and Hastings organ was rededicated following its complete restoration, marking the start of a four year sesquicentennial celebration of the Cathedral.
He placed great emphasis on making St. Joseph’s Cathedral the heart of diocesan life and also an integral part of the renewal of life in downtown Buffalo. One example of this was the Spirit of Summer on Cathedral Green, a smorgasbord of events featuring music, song, dance and acting.
He also opened the St. Joseph’s House next door to the St. Joseph’s Cathedral which provides a place for spiritual formation and educational programs as well as various discussion groups. Under Bishop Mansell’s guidance and leadership, there was the establishment of the Come Home Program for people who are separated from the Catholic Church.
Bishop Mansell expanded ministry to people of Hispanic descent. He recruited priests and seminarians from Columbia, South America. With particular concentration he strengthened ministry to the migrant workers in the Northeastern part of the Diocese.
He oversaw the construction of St. Martin De Porres Church in 1999, a primarily African American but integrated Church, the first Catholic church built in the City of Buffalo in 30 years.
He designated Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Buffalo as a special parish for the Vietnamese people.
On December 24, 2000, Bishop Mansell celebrated the first Mass held in the first Korean church in the Diocese. St. Andrew Kim Church is located in the refurbished convent behind Cardinal O’Hara High School in the town of Tonawanda.
He encouraged a whole schedule of events and programs on the parish level and the diocesan level to observe the Millennium year. He published the book, We Are Catholic. Let It Show. Open Wide the Doors to Christ, to promote reflection for the Millennium year. Also the pamphlet, “Yes, I Am a Catholic, A Profile of a Catholic Adult.”
During Bishop Mansell’s tenure in Buffalo, he created two new departments within the Catholic Center: the Development Office and the Office for Human Resources.
He also began the Diocesan Service Corps, a diocesan equivalent to the U.S. Peace Corps, in 2001.
In July 2001, Bishop Mansell and about 500 pilgrims for the Diocese of Buffalo participated in World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, Canada.
In September 2002, Bishop Mansell presided over the opening of St. Dominic Savio Middle School in Niagara Falls, the first middle school opened in the diocese.
Bishop Mansell named a nine-member diocesan Review Board in October 2002. Comprised mostly of lay people, the board advises the bishop on clergy sexual abuse.
In January 2003, Bishop Henry J. Mansell traveled to Rome to present Pope John Paul II with the “Positio,” a 750-page summary of the life, virtues and reputation of Father Nelson Baker, a diocesan priest whose cause for sainthood is being promoted by the Diocese of Buffalo. The Positio moved forward the cause of Father Baker’s beatification and canonization.
In 2003, the bishop appointed Kathryn Marsh, CSW, as diocesan assistance coordinator. She is available to provide immediate pastoral assistance to sexual abuse victims. The bishop also implemented a new Safe Environment policy, which includes the sexual abuse awareness training of tens of thousands of people in the diocese who deal with children and young people. The bishop also oversaw the revision of the diocesan sexual abuse policy.
In September 2003, New York State Governor George Pataki named Bishop Mansell to the State Commission on Education Reform – a bipartisan group of education, business and community leaders that works to reform New York State’s education system.
Bishop Mansell served as vice-chairperson of the Public Policy Committee of the New York State Catholic Conference.
On the national level he has served as Treasurer of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their Administrative Board, and their Executive Committee. He also has served on the USCCB Committee on Priorities and Plans, the Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care Issues and the Church, the Board of Governors for the North American College in Rome, and as Chair of the Finance Committee of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He has served on the Ad Hoc Committee on Economic Concerns of the Holy See, the Committee on Personnel, and as a member of the Education Committee and as treasurer of CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigrant Network Inc.) for three-year terms.
As Archbishop of Hartford:
On October 20, 2003 Bishop Mansell was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Archbishop of Hartford. He was installed as the fourth Archbishop of Hartford on December 18, 2003.
On June 29, 2004, Archbishop Mansell received the pallium from His Holiness Pope John Paul II in Rome.
He has visited every parish in the Archdiocese, most of them on multiple occasions.
On October 21, 2004, Archbishop Mansell was named Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Commission to End Chronic Homelessness. The Commission developed a ten-year plan to end chronic homelessness in the Capitol Region.
Archbishop Mansell is a member of the MetroHartford Alliance.
On September 6, 2005, the first Nativity School was established at St. Martin de Porres Academy, New Haven.
On January 1, 2006, the Priest Wellness Program was initiated through Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford; Saint Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury; and the Hospital of Saint Raphael, New Haven.
Since coming to the Archdiocese, Archbishop Mansell has overseen six consecutive Archbishop’s Annual Appeals, every one exceeding an ever higher goal. Archbishop Mansell initiated a tuition assistance component to the Appeal for Catholic elementary school students. Also, he initiated an emergency assistance component to provide funding for medical and dental care, food, clothing, rental assistance, utilities, and auto repairs, to those parishioners who face economic hard times.
Through the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, with the Order of Malta of Hartford County, and St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Archbishop Mansell has helped to initiate the Malta House of Care mobile clinic. This free medical service to the uninsured is available regardless of race, religion or nationality. The mobile clinic rotates among the parking areas of Catholic parishes in inner city Hartford.
Archbishop Mansell is actively promoting the beatification and canonization cause of Father Michael J. McGivney, former diocesan priest of Hartford and founder of the Knights of Columbus.
Archbishop Mansell has created a Human Resources Office, a Development Office, and a Facilities and Construction Management Office for the Archdiocese of Hartford.
Archbishop Mansell has overseen the development of the Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin Residence for Retired Priests at St. Thomas Seminary, which opened in March 2007.
On June 17, 2008, the new Institute for the Hispanic Family was dedicated in Hartford.
On August 12, 2008, a new Catholic Charities Agency was dedicated. The Agency is located in the old St. Donato’s Parish Campus in New Haven.
On June 23, 2009, a Catholic Charities Agency office opened in the converted Sacred Heart Rectory in Waterbury.
On August 7, 2009, Cathedral Green, an affordable and supportive housing development, opened its doors in the converted St. Joseph Cathedral School in Hartford.
Another Malta House of Care mobile clinic opened in the fall of 2010 and rotates among the parking areas of Catholic parishes in inner city Waterbury.
Among his many honors, Archbishop Mansell has earned honorary doctorate degrees from Niagara University, St. Bonaventure University, Canisius College, Albertus Magnus College, Goodwin College and the University of Hartford.
In 2013, Pope Francis accepted Archbishop Mansell’s resignation as the Archbishop of Hartford.
Archbishop Mansell’s Coat of Arms
By Paul J. Sullivan, P. Sullivan & Co., Narragansett, Rhode Island
BLAZON: Arms impaled. Dexter: Gules, a hart Or, bearing the Paschal banner, Proper, the staff paleways of the second and trippant over a ford barry wavy of six Argent and Azure. Sinister: Azure, a saltair Argent; within the quarters, to chief a crescent, to sinister and to dexter a flame of three tongues and to base a Cross formeé, all of the second.
The archiepiscopal heraldic achievement, or archbishop’s coat of arms, is composed of a shield with its charges (symbols), a motto scroll and the external ornaments. The shield, which is the central and most important feature of any heraldic device, is described (blazoned) in 12th century terms that are archaic to our modern language, and this description is presented as if given by the bearer with the shield worn on the arm. It must be remembered, therefore, that the terms dexter and sinister are reversed as the device is viewed from the front.
By heraldic tradition the arms of the Metropolitan Archbishop are joined to the arms of his diocesan jurisdiction, seen in the dexter impalement (left side) of the shield. In this case these are arms of the Archdiocese of Hartford.
These arms are composed of a red field on which is displayed a golden hart (stag) crossing a ford. They represent a canting of, or “play on,” the name of the See City. This coat is analogous to the ancient arms of Oxford in England, which shows an ox crossing a ford in a similar manner. The hart bears a golden staff from which flies a Paschal banner in its proper colors of red and silver (white), a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Founder and Invisible Head of the Catholic Church, of which Hartford is a jurisdictional unit and the seat of the Metropolitan Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province. The blue and silver wavy bars at the base of the design are the conventional heraldic representation for water, as the waters at the river’s ford.
For his personal arms, seen in the sinister impalement (right side) of the shield, His Excellency Archbishop Mansell has retained the arms that he adopted at the time that he was ordained a bishop in 1993 and appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of New York. His Excellency retained the same design during his tenure as Bishop of Buffalo and he now uses it as he becomes the Archbishop of Hartford.
Archbishop Mansell’s coat of arms is composed in the colors of blue and silver (white) to reflect his deep and profound devotion to our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. The main charge in the design is a silver saltair (“X”). This charge is taken from the arms of the Archbishop’s home diocese, that of the Archdiocese of New York, for the silver saltair on a red field is called a “Cross of St. Patrick,” and it thus honors the titular of the Cathedral Church, the Mother Church of the See of New York.
Within the quarters of the shield that are created by the saltair are other charges of special significance to Archbishop Mansell. In the upper center is a silver crescent to honor Our Lady in her title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States. On either side are flames, which are taken from the Mansell “family” coat of arms and recall the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles at Pentecost. In the base is a cross formeé that has arms that are spread out, as the Gospel is to be spread throughout the world and touch all people.
For his motto His Excellency Archbishop Mansell has retained the invocation, “BLESSED BE GOD.” This prayer, which is taken from Psalm 68:36 and Tobit 13:1, evokes the recitation of “The Divine Praises” and expresses Archbishop Mansell’s deep belief that each of us is called to give glory and praise to God in all that we do.
The device is completed with the external ornaments which are an archiepiscopal processional cross (having two cross members), placed in back of the shield and extending above and below the shield, and a pontifical hat, known as a “gallero,” with its ten green tassels in four rows on either side of the shield. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of archbishop by instruction of the Holy See on March 31, 1969.