Diocese of Crookston installs Andrew Cozzens as eighth bishop

The Most Rev. Andrew Cozzens was named the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Crookston in a mass at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception of Mary in Crookston, Minnesota, on Monday.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens holds the Apostolic Mandate, a document written by Pope Francis, declaring Andrew H. Cozzens the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Crookston at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. At right is Fr. Joe Richards. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

CROOKSTON – The Most Rev. Andrew Cozzens was named the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Crookston in a mass at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception of Mary on Monday in Crookston.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, read the Apostolic Mandate from Pope Francis naming Cozzens as the new bishop. A cheering congregation welcomed him.

In attendance were priests and deacons from the Diocese of Crookston and around the region, nearly 20 other bishops, Cozzens’ family, sisters of the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus from New Ulm, Minnesota, and laypeople of the diocese.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens greets guests at the conclusion of his installation as the eighth Bishop of the Crookston Diocese Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 at the Crookston Cathedral. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald


Cozzens’ predecessor, former Bishop Michael Hoeppner, resigned in April 2021 at the request of Pope Francis after investigations into reports that Hoeppner covered up child sex abuse by clergy members in the diocese.

Cozzens does not shy away from the topic of sexual abuse allegations within the diocese.

“I recognize the Diocese of Crookston needs some healing,” Cozzens told reporters. “I’m aware, of course, of the resignation of the last bishop and the reports around that, and I do come with experience in dealing with issues of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.”

Cozzens became an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis shortly after news of sexual abuse allegations broke against Archbishop John Nienstedt. Cozzens was part of the team that investigated those allegations. Archbishop Bernard Hebda’s “victims first” approach to the sexual abuse crisis was especially influential.

“What it means is that when a victim comes forward and makes an accusation of any kind of misconduct, that we have an attitude of trying to believe them,” said Cozzens. “It also means we aren’t going to try to protect ourselves from them.”


Bishop Andrew Cozzens offers a blessing for a family at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Cozzens says he plans to meet with victims of abuse in the diocese to help facilitate healing and to rebuild trust.

During his homily, Cozzens acknowledged challenges the Diocese has faced, but offered words of encouragement for the future.

“Crookston has been through some difficulties and struggles. It doesn’t help to pretend that these things did not happen, but to have real hope, we face those difficulties and struggles head on,” said Cozzens.

The Diocese of Crookston includes a number of communities and counties in Minnesota, including Ada, Bagley, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Dilworth, East Grand Forks, Fertile, Fisher, Goodridge, Hawley, Lancaster, Mahnomen, Moorhead, Oslo, Roseau, Thief River Falls and Warroad.

He noted this year’s sugar beet harvest, which was good despite a drought, because it forced the sugar beets to grow deeper roots to find water. He ended his homily with a prayer for the Diocese of Crookston to do the same.


“Let any stretching and pain which we have experienced lead to a deep harvest,” he said.

Bishops around the altar, during the Eucharistic prayer, concelebrate the Mass with Bishop Andrew Cozzens at Cozzen's installation as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Crookston. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Cozzens’ parents, Jack and Judy Cozzens of Plymouth, Minnesota, said their son knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a priest.

“There have been some miracles in his life where he experienced the love of the Lord and he made his first communion very early so he could serve mass. He has just always known he should be a priest,” said Judy Cozzens.

The couple believe Bishop Cozzens will help the diocese in every way he can, solving problems with his mercy, good listening and charity.

“Anything he attempts, he’s very good at it,” said Jack Cozzens.

“I think he’s so good mainly because of where his heart is,” said Judy Cozzens.

As bishop, Cozzens says he looks forward to serving a rural area because it provides more opportunities to connect with people in the community.

Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus sing during the installation of Bishop Andrew Cozzens Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 at the Crookston Cathedral. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

“What I look forward to in the Diocese of Crookston is having an opportunity to really connect with people on various levels,” said Cozzens. “I hope that this new job will offer me more opportunities for the relational aspect of the work of a bishop and not always so much the administrative aspects.”

The Diocese of Crookston serves 32,000 Catholics over 14 counties in Minnesota.

Related Topics: FAITH
Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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