Bishops I’ve Known and Liked, Part 1


As John Heavrin has discovered, it’s probably not necessarily the ones you think it might be.

Joseph Hogan succeeded Sheen as Bishop of Rochester. Sheen lobbied for a priest of the diocese to be appointed to succeed him. Or at least he supported the move. I remember very little about him, though he did confirm me.

Matt Clark was young, strapping, and fresh from Rome when he became my bishop in 1979. I have vague recollections of people assessing him using Rochester as a stepping stone. Their first sense of him was that he was dismissive, curt, and impatient, and part of a new JPII wave. I don’t know if that was accurate. My first close look was when he came to St Elizabeth Ann Seton to celebrate confirmation in Spring of 1984. I found him to be a very good preacher, and an exceptionally prayerful presider. At Corpus Christi, my home parish, he was distrusted, disliked, and it seemed to show when he came there for confirmation.

When I saw him, he often inquired about the progress of my graduate studies. He remembered my name, my parish, what I was doing, and I think he had met my mother once or twice, though her church involvement was fading by the early 80’s.

I remember the listening sessions he conducted in preparation for the USCCB pastoral letter on women–long since scuttled. He did well in difficult public meetings. When all hell broke loose at Corpus Christi, I considered writing him a supportive letter, but I never got around to it. I had a dream about him a few months later. I should’ve written that letter. Maybe I will some day.

Tomorrow: mostly midwestern bishops.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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