Friday, October 13, 2006

Opening remarks

The Quad-City Times has the story on the press conference yesterday in Davenport with Bishop Franklin and Bishop Amos.

From the website of the diocese, the bishops' remarks in full:

Bishop Franklin:
Thank you for attending this meeting today on such short notice.

In May of 2005, I offered my resignation to the Holy Father on the occasion of my 75th birthday. With my resignation, I offered to continue my work as Bishop of the Davenport Diocese until a successor is installed. I am now the second oldest bishop of a diocese in the United States and the seventh oldest bishop of a diocese in the world.

For the past seventeen months, we have prayed for a new bishop. Today, our prayers have been answered.

The Holy Father has accepted my resignation and has appointed Bishop Martin John Amos as the Eighth Bishop of Davenport. It is with joy and great pleasure that I introduce to you Bishop Amos.

Bishop Amos:

Thank you, Bishop Franklin.

First, let me tell how grateful I am for the warm welcome I have received since arriving in Davenport yesterday.

As you are now aware, Pope Benedict XVI has appointed me the 8th Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport. Bishop Franklin will remain in the Diocese as the apostolic administrator until my installation on November 20.

I am sure that you are curious about who I am, where I come from and what I am like. The biographical details will be available after this press conference, but let me make some brief comments now.

I was born in 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio. The oldest of six children - three boys and three girls. I was ordained to the priesthood in 1968. Served in two parishes as associate pastor and then was transferred to the Borromeo Seminary High School and then the Seminary College where I was Academic Dean and taught Latin and Scripture.

After 10 years I was sent to St. Dominic Parish in Shaker Heights, OH where I pastored for 18 years. So pastoring and teaching have always been a part of my life.

On April 3, 2001 Pope John Paul II named me Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland and life greatly changed.

But those are just a few of the facts about where I've been.

Last week, Archbishop Sambi called to tell me the Holy Father wished me to pastor here in the Diocese of Davenport. It has certainly been a roller coaster week! I am sad about leaving what I have called home for almost 65 years. I am anxious and at the same time excited about this new path on my journey. Certainly God has been with me on many twists and turns in life and I know that God is with me as I come here today.

I come to a Diocese that recently celebrated its 125th Anniversary. I have been told about the wonderful priests, deacons, religious and people of the Diocese.

Bishop Franklin has briefly discussed with me the serious issues facing the Diocese. I know we need to continue to reach out to those touched by abuse and to continue to strengthen the protection of children and young people. The recent decision to declare Bankruptcy will have serious implications.

I know you have many questions about a variety of these issues and others as well. So have I. But until I have an opportunity to meet with my staff and the leadership and the people of the Diocese, I really can't respond to your questions until a later date.

As a bishop when I install a new pastor for a parish, one of the final things I say to him is what I hope will be the mark of my own pastoring of the Diocese of Davenport. I say to him, "My brother, be a loving father, a gentle shepherd and a wise teacher." I pray I will be that for you….a loving father, a gently shepherd and a wise teacher. After this press conference I will join Bishop Franklin and some of the staff to celebrate Mass - to pray for the people of the Diocese and for myself.

My thought was, after that I will be going home, but I realized I am home, now. I will return to the Diocese of Cleveland to wrap up affairs there, to say my good-byes and return for my installation on November 20th.

In the meantime, I ask the people of the Diocese to keep me in your prayers. I know that over the past year you have been praying for me as you prayed for the new bishop, now you can pray for me by name.

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