March 27, 2005

Local bishop restores faith


Sunday, March 27, 2005

SPRINGFIELD - In his first year as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, the Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell has been seen by many local Catholics as a healer who has restored people's confidence in the local church and possesses the skills to continue moving the diocese forward - even through financially difficult times.

Others see him as unwilling to listen to others, tied to old church ways and offering little more than a jovial demeanor when desperate measures are needed.

McDonnell, who served as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York before coming to Springfield, was unavailable for an interview for this story because of Holy Week commitments, according to diocesan spokesman Mark E. Dupont.

Regardless of how people measure McDonnell's first year on the job, almost everyone agrees he stepped into a difficult situation.

When he was installed as the diocese's eighth bishop on April 1 last year, both clergy and lay people were feeling hurt, confused and disillusioned in the wake of the resignation of Bishop Thomas L. Dupre in February 2004 amid allegations of sexual abuse.

Seven months later, Dupre was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of rape of minors. The charges were immediately dropped because Hampden County District Attorney William M. Bennett said he couldn't overcome the statute of limitations.

Posted by kshaw at March 27, 2005 07:53 AM