New Scranton Bishop Notes Diocesan Struggles

Former Child Protection Delegate Named to Ogdensburg

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SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, FEB. 23, 2010 ( Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Joseph Bambera, 53, as bishop of the Scranton Diocese.

The diocese had been awaiting a leader since August, when the Pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Martino for health reasons.

At that time, the Pontiff appointed Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as apostolic administrator in Scranton. The cardinal named Monsignor Bambera as his delegate, to be his link to the diocese.

In response to the appointment today, Cardinal Rigali stated in a press conference: «The Church is called to offer the truth and the grace of Jesus Christ to all people through the concerted action of all her sons and daughters.

«By virtue of his apostolic mandate, it falls to the bishop to call forth, direct and coordinate the evangelical endeavor of the diocesan community so that Gospel faith can grow and flourish, the lost sheep can be led back to the flock and the Kingdom of God can spread throughout the world.»

The prelate added that «the model of Christ the Good Shepherd suggests to the bishop daily fidelity to his mission, total and serene dedication to the Church, joy and patience in leading to the Lord all those entrusted to his care, gladness in gathering into the unity of the Church the scattered children of God, and earnest kindness in extending respectful friendship to all people of good will.»

At that same press conference, Bishop-designate Bambera stated, «The role of any bishop, and my role now, is to call the people of God to holiness and mission.»

He acknowledged that the diocese, where he was born, and later ordained a priest in 1983, has been through many «struggles that we have faced together.»

«In addition to the personal losses and setbacks that touch everyone’s lives, as a diocese, we’ve struggled with change, parish restructuring and church and school closures,» Bishop-designate Bambera said.

He continued, «My prayer is that together we claim the hope that is given to us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; that we come to appreciate the salvation that is ours through faith; that we celebrate our union with Christ and with one another; that we proclaim the Good News to all who have ears to hear; and that we embrace the mission of service that lies at the heart of the Church.»

«As we begin a new chapter in the life of the Diocese of Scranton, may we continue to collaborate and to work together as we pursue charity and truth,» Bishop-designate Bambera stated.

He will be ordained a bishop and installed in the diocese on April 26.

The Diocese of Scranton has some 323,000 Catholics registered in 130 parishes. It numbers 352 priests as well as some 530 religious.


Also today, Benedict XVI named Father Terry LaValley, 53, currently administrator of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, New York, as head of the same diocese.

He succeeds Bishop Robert Cunningham, who was appointed to head the Syracuse Diocese last April.

Terry LaValley was born in Mooers Forks, New York, as the second of six children. He served a six-year tour of duty with the U.S. Navy before entering the seminary. In 1988 he was ordained to the priesthood.

Bishop-designate LaValley served for several years as the bishops’ delegate to implement and oversee compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

He will be ordained a bishop and installed in the diocese on April 30.

The Diocese of Ogdensburg has some 116,000 Catholics served by 119 priests, 62 permanent deacons and 127 religious.

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