Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Winona's Bishop Harrington Requests May 7 Succession

The official transition to a new bishop for the Diocese of Winona may happen May 7, the date on which outgoing Bishop Bernard Harrington has asked the Vatican to make the change.

Welcoming a new bishop

What's new: Outgoing Diocese of Winona Bishop Bernard Harrington has requested a May 7 transition date for handing oversight of the diocese over to Bishop John Quinn.

What's next: The Vatican needs to formally approve the transition date.

What the transition means: Quinn will officially become the leader of the diocese, which covers Minnesota's 20 southern-most counties.

Writing in The Courier, the diocese's official newspaper, Harrington said May 7 would be a fitting transition date because that's when he will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

The May 7 date is just a request at this point in time, however, and the Vatican hasn't formally approved it, said Diocese of Winona spokeswoman Rose Hammes. It's possible the Vatican's timing will be different from what Harrington has requested, she added.

Harrington has shared oversight of the Diocese of Winona with Bishop John Quinn since December, when Quinn was formally welcomed to the diocese. The estimated Catholic population of the diocese is approximately 148,400 people or about 28 percent of the 20-county diocese's overall population. There are 118 Catholic parishes in the diocese.

Quinn's title since that time is coadjutor bishop, which basically means he's a co-bishop. It's not uncommon for new bishops to have an overlap period with outgoing bishops as they learn the ropes in their new positions.

"The minute the Vatican says that they've accepted Bishop Harrington's retirement, Bishop Quinn becomes the bishop," Hammes said.

If that decision coincides with Harrington's 50th anniversary celebration at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, the formal transition will likely be acknowledged at that event.

Otherwise, there will be no ceremony, Hammes said. Quinn was formally welcomed to the diocese at a Dec. 11 ceremony attended by several bishops from around the Upper Midwest.

Harrington, 75, who recently underwent hip-replacement surgery, has said he plans to live in Rochester in his retirement, filling in as pastor as needed at local parishes. Rochester Post Bulletin


Anonymous said...

About time and he can take his replacement with him, send us a real bishop! Sorry, had to say it. I've joined the ranks of those that are driving north for a better mass with a stronger priest.

Anonymous said...

I have heard from a friend who lives in Rochester that what you say is true. He now goes to a small church out in the country somewhere. He has been beat up by the progressives for too long.
I don't understand your anger toward the new bishop though. I read somewhere that he is decent.

Anonymous said...

Anger, well that's a bit strong, how about realistic. With the new bishop there are just too many similiarities, but we'll see. One good sign would be if he replaced the diocian liturgical director. Fingers crossed, nothing expected.