By Jack Smith
Catholic Key Editor
KANSAS CITY — Bishop Robert W. Finn recently announced a number of canonical appointments for the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph.
Jude Huntz will serve as Chancellor of the Diocese. In November 2011, he assumed duties as Chief of Staff. Huntz will retain those responsibilities.
Huntz came to the Diocese in 2008 as Director of Human Rights. He is a 1994 graduate of Canisius College and holds master’s degrees in Humanities from the University of Dallas and Pastoral Studies from Loyola University-Chicago. He is a certified teacher, with records of service in Catholic elementary schools and at the Barstow School in Kansas City. In 2005, Huntz was named Teacher of the Year in the Kansas City Region and the State of Missouri for his work at Barstow. Huntz also has worked in adult faith formation. He has served as a board member of the National Roundtable of Social Justice Directors and as Chair of the Public Policy Committee for the Missouri Catholic Conference. Huntz and his family are parishioners at St. Therese Little Flower in Kansas City.
Huntz succeeds Monsignor Bradley S. Offutt as Chancellor. Msgr. Offutt served seven years as Chancellor and now will serve as Vicar General. As previously reported, Msgr. Offutt also will become Rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Ordained in 1986, Msgr. Offutt last year celebrated 25 years of priestly ministry. He has served as Associate Pastor at St. Bernadette and St. Therese North parishes in Kansas City. In 1993, he became Pastor at both Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Harrisonville and St. Bridget in Pleasant Hill. During his tenure, he oversaw the construction of a new church for each parish community. The experience served him well; as Chancellor he guided a number of strategic planning initiatives for the Diocese.
Msgr. Offutt succeeds Msgr. Robert Murphy as Vicar General. Following a seven-year term as Vicar General, Msgr. Murphy has asked to return to full-time pastoral ministry at St. Bridget, where he also has been Pastor since 2007.
Among his duties, Msgr. Offutt will act as Vicar for Clergy. Within the last year, Fr. Joseph Powers performed these duties. He will return to full-time pastoral ministry at Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, where he has served since 2008.
Bishop Finn expressed appreciation to Msgr. Murphy and Fr. Powers for their past service and continued ministry.
Bishop Finn has appointed Fr. Patrick Rush as Episcopal Vicar with Special Mandate. As the Bishop and the Diocese face separate criminal charges of failure to report suspected child abuse, Bishop Finn has determined that another experienced party should represent the interests of the Diocese.
Canon Law provides bishops the prerogative to name priests as Vicars to carry out specific duties on their behalf. Fr. Rush will provide “independent representation, deliberation, and decision-making with executive power” concerning the criminal charge against the Diocese.
Bishop Finn’s letter of appointment stated that the decision to create an Episcopal Vicar with Special Mandate will “avoid even the appearance of conflict concerning the juridical affairs of the diocese.” The appointment carries the authority to make decisions independently of the bishop and will expire upon resolution of the case involving the Diocese.
Ordained in 1969, Fr. Rush has served nine parishes in Kansas City. Under Bishops Charles Helmsing, John Sullivan and Raymond Boland, Fr. Rush served as Vice-Chancellor, Director of Permanent Diaconate and Director of Priestly Life and Ministry. From 1994 to 2005, he was Bishop Boland’s Vicar General. He currently is Pastor of Visitation Parish.
Bishop Finn is pleased to make the following Canonical Assignments
Mr. Jude Huntz, formerly Director of the Diocesan Human Rights Office and Bishop’s Chief of Staff, appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and to retain duties as Chief of Staff, effective June 12, 2012.
Reverend Monsignor A. Robert Murphy, formerly Vicar General of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and Pastor of St. Bridget Parish, Pleasant Hill, to remain full time Pastor of St. Bridget Parish, Pleasant Hill, effective June 12, 2012.
Reverend Monsignor Bradley S. Offutt, formerly Chancellor of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and recently appointed Rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Kansas City, appointed Vicar General of the Diocese, and to serve as Rector of the Cathedral, effective June 12, 2012.
Reverend Joseph Powers, formerly Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and Pastor of the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, in St. Joseph, to remain as full time Pastor of Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, effective June 12, 2012.
Reverend Patrick Rush, Pastor of Visitation Parish, Kansas City, appointed Episcopal Vicar with Special Mandate, and to remain Pastor of Visitation Parish, effective May 15, 2012.