Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Musical Cathedras, Christmas Edition

This morning, Pope Benedict accepted the retirement of Bishop William Friend of Shreveport. Friend, who turned 75 in October, said at the time that he sought to go quickly... and it seems he's gotten his wish.

No successor as bishop of Shreveport was named, bringing the number of vacant US dioceses to eight, alongside Lake Charles, Youngstown, Birmingham, Salt Lake, Little Rock, Pittsburgh and Great Falls-Billings.

Yesterday, Auxiliary Bishop Richard Garcia of Sacramento was named diocesan bishop of Monterey, succeeding the retiring (and quite beloved) Sylvester Ryan. Apparently, Garcia's first day was a smash -- a good number of the priests showed for the intro press conference, and those who met the new bishop (a priest of San Jose who taught many of the Monterey clergy during his eight years on the faculty of St Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park) were said to be quite pleased. Garcia's installation has been set for 30 January; as the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo is one of the smallest in the country, the liturgy site will be the Monterey Conference Center.

One appointment overlooked in yesterday's annoucements was that of the new archbishop of Palermo. Continuing his gradual dispersion of the Holy See's diplomatic elite, Benedict tapped Archbishop Paolo Romeo, the papal nuncio in Italy, to head to Sicily and succeed Cardinal Salvatore de Giorgi, who turned 76 in September.

A veteran of almost 40 years in the Vatican's foreign service and a former nuncio to Canada, Romeo's replacement hasn't yet been named. Coming in the midst of the ad limina visits of the Italian bishops, the timing is rather notable -- just as it's also worth reminding that the Pope has not yet revealed his choice to succeed Cardinal Camillo Ruini as head of the all-powerful Italian episcopal conference, the CEI.... That appointment was expected shortly after the Italian church's national congress back in October.

It's good to see that the US isn't the only place experiencing a backlog of personnel moves.

North of the border, Archbishop Thomas Collins arrived in Toronto last evening, in his first appearance there since being appointed to lead its local church on Saturday. No public or media events are scheduled for the two days of transition meetings, but the chancery staff are said to be looking forward to the incoming boss' walkabout in the office later today.

The sessions will finalize an installation date for the new head of Canada's largest see and lend some guidance as to where, on his permanent arrival in the GTA, the archbishop and his feline friend, Frodo, will take up residence; the house occupied by the late Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter was recently sold and the outgoing archbishop, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, has been living in a condo. Shortly after Saturday's announcement, Ambrozic received word that he'd be serving as the archdiocese's apostolic administrator until the installation, for which a late January date is being eyed.

When it happens (Deus -- and readership -- providebit) Whispers'll be northward bound to cover the festivities. Looking forward to seeing the Canadian crew... and keeping warm in the dead of Ontario winter.