April 02, 2005

Bishop holds anniversary Mass


Saturday, April 02, 2005

SPRINGFIELD - A year after he pledged to bring healing to the local Catholic diocese, Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell, 67, said yesterday that mission would continue in earnest.

McDonnell, who was installed as the eighth bishop of the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese on April 1, 2004, marked his first anniversary with a noon Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral.

He succeeded Bishop Thomas L. Dupre, who stepped down in February 2004, a day after The Republican confronted him with allegations that he molested two boys when he was a parish priest in the 1970s.

At his installation last year, McDonnell said healing the pain and damage caused by clergy abuse would be a top priority. He repeated those words yesterday after Mass.

"My prayer every day is that those who are hurt will know some relief from that hurt. It's only been a year, and healing can take a year, five years or can be a lifelong process," McDonnell said.

In this past year, McDonnell has had to address clergy sexual abuse lawsuits, a financial shortfall that has closed some schools and is expected to cause the closing and merging of many parishes, and the task of revitalizing the morale of many disheartened parishioners.

Many Catholics have praised McDonnell's decisions in tackling clergy abuse issues. Last May, he ended a $1,030 monthly stipend and benefits package for defrocked priest Richard R. Lavigne and has moved quickly to remove those facing abuse claims substantiated by a diocesan review board.

Posted by kshaw at April 2, 2005 04:33 AM