Monday, January 18, 2010

Transfer in Texas

Mornin', folks... the year's first appointment has dropped: the Pope has named Msgr Michael Mulvey, currently administrator of the vacant diocese of Austin, as bishop of Corpus Christi.

At the helm of the border diocese of 400,000, the 60 year-old pick -- a leader of the Focolare movement on these shores -- succeeds Bishop Edmond Carmody, who reached the retirement age of 75 a year ago last week.

Well-known and highly-regarded across the Lone Star State, the second of the "Texas triangle" of vacancies goes to a cleric who's become something of a hot ticket on the church scene of late. Having served since 2004 as a top aide to then-Bishop Gregory Aymond (whose promotion to New Orleans last June triggered the Austin opening), Mulvey had been named vice-rector of St Mary's Seminary in his native Houston last spring, but returned home on his election to temporarily oversee the 450,000-member church in Texas' capital all of three weeks after taking up the seminary post.

Yet another member of the group of 359 priests ordained by Pope Paul VI on 29 June 1975 to get a high-hat, the bishop-elect served as pastor of three parishes, but also spent four years out of the booming central Texas diocese on Focolare work, first co-directing its school of formation for diocesan priests in Florence from 1997-99, then running the movement's Spirituality Center in New York from 1999-2001.

The first Corpus pick named to the diocese without prior episcopal experience since 1921, Mulvey will be ordained and installed on Annunciation Day, 25 March. According to the Austin church, he will remain administrator there "until a new bishop is appointed"....

Complete the sentence.

With today's nod, the number of US sees led by an ordinary over 75 falls to a recent low of four, with another six vacant.

Likewise this morning, the pontiff made official what had been reported for some days, appointing Bishop Andre Mutien Leonard as archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels in succession to the retiring Cardinal Godfried Danneels.

SVILUPPO: Fullvideo of Mulvey's Announcement Day presser is up and streaming.

PHOTO: Diocese of Austin