Pope appoints Valley Streamer as auxilliary bishop


Pope Francis has named Msgr. Richard Henning, the rector of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, to be an auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio, announced on last Thursday. Henning, 53, also serves as acting episcopal vicar of the diocese’s central vicariate and director of the Sacred Heart Institute, also in Huntington.

Bishop-elect Henning will be ordained and installed in St. Agnes Cathedral on July 24 when he will receive the title of Titular Bishop of Tabla.

Henning was born on Oct. 17, 1964, in Rockville Centre and grew up in Valley Stream, where he and his family were members of the parish of the Holy Name of Mary. The eldest of five children, he attended Chaminade High School in Mineola and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from St. John’s University. He pursued seminary training from 1988 to 1992 in Huntington, after which he completed a licentiate in biblical theology at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. In 2000, he received a doctorate in the sacred theology (STD) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, traditionally a training ground for those tapped for careers in the church.

Henning was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in May, 1992, by the late Bishop John McGann. He was named a chaplain of His Holiness, or monsignor, in 2008.

From 1992 to 1997, Henning was a priest in the parish of St. Peter Alcantara in Port Washington. During his theological studies he served variously in the parish of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch; the cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, Va.; and in the parish of St. Patrick, in Washington D.C.

Besides his work as rector, Henning has filled a number of positions at the seminary, including assistant professor and professor of sacred scripture and priestly formation.

Bishop John Barres, the diocese’s bishop, praised Henning’s pastoral charity and intelligence, as well as his “commitment to a demanding life of daily prayer,” adding that “his biblical scholarship and experience in seminary formation, his national contributions to the ongoing formation of priests and assistance to international priests who serve in this country give him a wide range of pastoral experience and skills to help advance the New Evangelization and dramatic missionary growth on Long Island.”

Henning expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis and to Bishop Barres and Bishop-emeritus William Murphy for “their encouragement and mentoring.”

Besides English, Henning is fluent in Spanish and Italian and has a reading knowledge of French, Greek and Hebrew.