Thursday, February 25, 2010

Off and Running

Just up the Blue Route, it might've taken WNEP's Scott Schafer months to get Scranton's last ordinary on-camera, and barely at that... but with the ink barely dry on his appointment to lead one of the Stateside church's most, er, "challenge-rich" dioceses, Bishop-elect Joe Bambera sat down yesterday for the full treatment:

Sure, he's already taken to the pectoral cross... moral of the story, though: as they say, eighty percent of life is showing up.

Seemingly to a man, to say the natives are out-and-out "thrilled" with the selection of one of their own is no understatement. No less than Commonweal is "doubly pleased," while in an open hand no less than jaw-dropping, the head of the diocesan high-school teachers union Michael Milz -- who led demonstrations against Bishop Joseph Martino after the now-retired prelate withdrew the diocese's recognition of the group -- wrote Bambera within hours, admitting that "having personally experienced your kindness and concern during our meeting this past October... I am particularly excited about your appointment."

Still, with questions lingering over the future of the diocese's schools, emotions still raw over the ongoing parish realignment process (which'll see Bambera's twin pastorates consolidate by June), a sizable financial hole to fill -- and more -- the bishop-elect's trying to keep expectations low.

While "the fact that the people know me gives me [an] advantage in facing the temporary challenges," Bambera said at Tuesday's presser, "the same people that know me well know my weaknesses and my idiosyncrasies. So you never know."