Thursday, September 08, 2005

At the Consistorial Congregation

So the big dogs may not be going anywhere just yet, but subtle moves are being made in the lower rungs of the Curial ranks. Blink and you'll miss them.

Turnover -- or churn, to use the wireless industry's terminology -- among the staffs of the dicasteries is no earthshattering thing; it happens all the time as our friendly neighborhood Curialists seek to return to the trenches after finding a worthy hand to replace them.

But the pace of the churning has picked up of late....

To take one case, Philadelphia welcomes one of its finest home as Msgr. Daniel Thomas returns from a decade-plus of distinguished service at the Congregation for Bishops. Fittingly enough, his boss -- who was, of course, #2 at Bishops for four glorious years -- has named Thomas as pastor of the Italian ethnic parish on the Main Line, Our Lady of the Assumption in Strafford, one of the hidden gems of this archdiocese. But the whispers that a mitre and crozier aren't far behind have already begun....

Danny Thomas is one of a long tradition of Philly-area priests at Bishops. Before him was Al Callaghan, a priest of Allentown and former chancellor of the Military Services who was named rector of the St. Paul Seminary over the summer, and now remains Msgr. Andrew Baker, also an Allentowner, the author of "the piece that started it all" -- the 2002 America article arguing against the admission of gay men to seminary formation, a piece whose shockwaves are still being felt.

Taking Thomas' place as coordinator for English-speaking appointments, I'm told, will be another Northeasterner -- 40 year-old Father Thomas Powers of the diocese of Bridgeport, until now a seminary spiritual director and high school chaplain in his home diocese. Get excited, Fighting Irish, he's a Notre Dame alum -- class of '87. And the NACers are excited, too -- he's one of their own as well. A friend informs that Powers is a good guy....

May he expedite all these vacancies on B16's plate and keep the solid quality a-comin'.