Monday, February 22, 2010

"Electric City"... Appointment Eve

After an afternoon's worth of mounting buzz, around 8pm tonight a statement emerged from the diocese of Scranton with bold-faced word of a 10am news conference tomorrow.

No specifics were given, of course... but all signs point firmly to the announcement of the roiled Northeastern Pennsylvania diocese's tenth bishop.

Among other early reports to come from sources in the 350,000-member church, an unscheduled meeting of the College of Consultors has reportedly been called for 9.30... and Msgr Joseph Bambera -- the highly-regarded local pastor tapped to serve as the delegate of the apostolic administrator, Cardinal Justin Rigali -- cancelled his plans to attend tomorrow's meeting of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference in Harrisburg.

A canonist and onetime member of Bishop Joseph Martino's curia before leaving diocesan administration in 2008, the roof of one of the delegate's two parishes memorably caved in just before Martino's August resignation and Bambera's appointment as the diocese's day-to-day overseer during the vacancy.

By the looks of it, that roof's gonna become someone else's to fix.

Curtain goes up at 6, gang. For all of it, as always, stay tuned.

SVILUPPO (10.28pm): At the top of tonight's 10pm local ABC newscast in Scranton, WNEP's Scott Schaffer -- who chronicled his near-futile quest for an interview with Martino in a, er, unique May sweeps piece last year -- reported that Bambera "will be named the new Bishop."

To be sure, keeping the 53 year-old permanently in post would be the least surprising result; facing "formidable challenges" ranging from $15 million in deficits and investment losses over the last year, the fraught legacy of Martino's six-year tenure, low morale among the presbyterate and the continuing fallout of broad swaths of parish and school closings that hit the locals hard, any Scranton appointee would have little room for a learning curve.