Thursday, February 05, 2009

Galluping Off

This morning, the Pope named Fr Jim Wall, vicar for clergy in the diocese of Phoenix, as bishop of Gallup.

Ordained in 1998, the bishop-elect succeeds Bishop Donald Pelotte SSS, whose early retirement was accepted in April 2008. Since Pelotte's resignation, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted has done double-duty as apostolic administrator of New Mexico's mission diocese, home to some 60,000 members across 55,000 square miles of the state's northern tier, stretching into Arizona.

Born in the Sun Devil part of the Gallup church, Wall attended Arizona State, later entering St John's Seminary, Camarillo and taking up extra studies at Mundelein's Liturgical Institute. Given his first pastorate in 2002, Bishop Thomas Olmsted called the appointee into the Phoenix chancery as vicar for clergy in 2007; last year, Wall took on the directorate of a retreat house in addition to his administrative post.

Per the norms of the canons, the bishop-elect must be ordained and installed within four months of this morning's appointment. With today's move, the number of vacant Stateside sees falls to six, another twelve led by ordinaries serving past the retirement age of 75.

It's worth noting, however, that Wall won't be joining the latter lineup for quite some time -- at 44, Gallup's new arrival becomes the nation's youngest diocesan bishop, the Stateside bench's second youngest member overall.

Oh, and the Quote of the Day comes from a Phoenix seminarian who, when asked how he found his path, told the diocesan Sun that he was "just another vocation caught in the crosshairs of Fr. Jim Wall."

No mean compliment, that.

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For a taste -- albeit lo-fi -- of the appointee in action, below is a video clip from a homily Wall gave at a sendoff Mass for Phoenix's contingent to last summer's World Youth Day in Sydney:

PHOTO: Ambria Hammel/The Catholic Sun