Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today in the Southwest: Sitting Wall

Later today sees the first post-Easter ordination on these shores as Bishop-elect Jim Wall takes the reins of New Mexico's diocese of Gallup.

Born to recent converts in the Arizona portion of the interstate diocese, the 44 year-old becomes the youngest cleric to head an American diocese in some two decades during the 2pm Mountain (4pm Eastern, 2000GMT) Mass in Sacred Heart Cathedral, which'll be webstreamed both via the diocesan page.

Home to 60,000 Catholics spread across 55,000 square miles, the Gallup church was founded in 1939, three years after the future Pope Pius XII saw New Mexico on a US tour and left with a concern for the better care of its Native American population. Named the diocese's fourth head in February, Wall succeeds Bishop Donald Pelotte, who led the diocese since 1990 and was granted early retirement last year for reasons of health.

In an Ordination Eve interview with the local ABC affiliate, Wall said that among his priorities was helping to combat high rates of alcoholism and drunken-driving in the area. For all the rest, an extensive special edition of the diocesan newspaper, the Voice of the Southwest, is available in pdf.