Tuesday, September 02, 2008

High-Hat Digest

And now... back to the beat.

In California's capital, "Jaimetime" is officially near; his successor already in the wings, Sacramento Bishop William Weigand has submitted his resignation, with a 30 November handoff already planned:
Weigand, 71, said his age, health and the knowledge that he leaves the diocese in good hands led to his decision.

"I've been at this very taxing ministry for 28 years. I'm just kind of worn out," said Weigand in his office at the pastoral center last week. "I haven't run out of ideas. I just don't have the energy."

Weigand headed the diocese during a time of turmoil for the church and for him personally. Shortly before he came to Sacramento, he was diagnosed with a terminal liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis.

Despite his health, Weigand put all his energy into his work. He is regarded as a hardworking bishop with strong administrative skills who is not afraid to speak his mind.

In 2004, Weigand publicly asked Gov. Gray Davis to "have the integrity" to stop receiving Communion until he changed his stance on abortion. The bishop was criticized for mixing church and state.

During Weigand's tenure, the diocese more than doubled and now serves nearly 900,000 Catholics, many of them immigrants, according to diocesan officials. The diocese stretches from Sacramento County to the Oregon border....

Weigand also dealt with a health crisis. In January 2004, he disclosed to The Bee that he needed a liver transplant.

In April 2005, Dan Haverty, now the fire chief of Folsom, donated most of his liver to Weigand. The two men barely knew each other but have become good friends.

"I like him as a friend and have total respect for him as a man of Christ," said Haverty. "He lives his life the way he preaches."

The first six months of his retirement, Weigand will camp in a new trailer, working on his family genealogy, and writing his reflections.

Weigand, who has not been feeling well for the past year, said he is feeling better and he's ready to hit the road.

For the first time in more than a decade, he won't feel the weight of the diocese on his shoulders. He is looking forward to returning to private life.

"I can't wait," he said.
(Sure, that's what they all say... but especially these days, they mean it.)

Back East, meanwhile, New Hampshire's ordinary is recovering from a quickly-scheduled bypass surgery performed Friday; Bishop John McCormack, 73, marks a decade at the helm of the Granite State church next month.

Likewise on the mend is Wilmington's departing ordinary Bishop Michael Saltarelli, 75, who'll hand the Delaware diocese over to his successor next Monday. Under observation for what the diocesan Dialog reported as "inflammation of the spine," the much-loved Mickey noted in a letter to his weekly that the hospital stay marked the first time, "outside the common cold," that he'd been sick over his 13 years in Delaware.

"This seems very strange to me," the Jersey-born bishop wrote.

And lastly for now, with 16 Stateside dioceses in line to receive new heads in the imminent future, increased focus of late has turned to Cincinnati, where a coadjutor to 74 year-old Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk has been expected for some time.

Sure, the false alarms made the rounds after the consultors of Ohio's 500,000-member mother-see were called in last week... but no dice -- at least, not yet.

Regarded by many of his confreres as the leading intellect among the US bishops, Pilarzcyk -- who's served the national bench in practically every one of its top posts -- has led his hometown church since October 1982. Ordained an auxiliary to then-Archbishop Joseph Bernardin eight years prior, by tenure he's the senior active American prelate.