I will make this one final update to this post on this busy day for the Roman Catholic Church in Albany! I viewed a livestream of the press conference with Bishop Hubbard and Bishop-Elect Scharfenberger at 11am. Bishop Hubbard was his typically gracious and funny self, speaking about how glad he was to know that Bishop-Elect Scharfenberger would be our new shepherd. He offered him some gifts, including a purple zuchetto that belonged to Bishop Edwin Broderick, and also a Mets cap, and a map of our physically large diocese.
Bishop-Elect Scharfenberger started with a prayer, and then offered his own equally funny, gracious and informative words in return. It was moving to hear his speak about his 93 year old parents, and his great gratitude for them. He then took some questions. As I am at work, I missed some of them, but I did hear someone ask what would happen between now and April 10, which will be the date of his episcopal ordination at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception here in Albany. In a very wise reply, he said that the diocese was in good hands, and that he had a lot to do in Brooklyn, so that he would probably “make himself scarce” until April 10th. He seems easy going, funny, and warm; clearly he has a pastoral side.
So let us pray for both men, and for those who will miss Bishop-Elect Scharfenberger, for the Bishop-Elect Scharfenberger himself, and for our own diocese and for Bishop Hubbard!
Here are some updates , beginning with a portion of a statement from our retiring Bishop Howard J. Hubbard:
“It is with great joy that we welcome Bishop-Elect Edward Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Brooklyn, as the 10th diocesan bishop of Albany.
For the past 37 years I have had the privilege of serving as Bishop in the Diocese of Albany – a community consisting of 14 counties spread over ten thousand square miles, stretching from the Pennsylvania border to the Vermont border; from the Massachusetts state line to the Utica City line; from the Northern Catskills to the Southern Adirondacks. It is a territory dotted with cities, towns, villages, suburban and rural communities. It is an area blessed with not only magnificent physical beauty but most important with the rich and vibrant spiritual splendor of its 350,000 priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful. We greet him with warmth, hospitality and a sincere desire to be attentive and responsive to his leadership as our shepherd.”
And also some words from our Bishop Elect Edward Scharfenberger:
“It is humbling when I think that I soon will be counted among the successors of the Lord’s Apostles. I am not worthy of this office and I hope that our priests, deacons, religious and lay people will pray for me often as, together, we continue along our journey of faith.
What else do I ask for? What do I hope for? I ask the priests, deacons, religious and laity to help me to be myself – my best self. I promise to love and respect all of you by letting you be who you are and to bring out the best in you. Let’s do this for one another. I will spend every talent that God has given to me, and every ounce of energy, for the Church in Albany.
I commend myself and my ministry to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of our Diocese.”
This is breaking news, but from today’s Albany Times Union:
“The diocese will announced later Tuesday morning the appointment Rev. Msgr. Edward B. Scharfenberger, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, as the new spiritual leader for the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese.
Scharfenberger, 65, was appointed by Pope Francis early Tuesday to be the tenth bishop of the diocese, Father Kenneth Doyle said.”
“Ed Scharfenberger is a good man and a great priest. He’s currently serving as vicar for Queens—and just last Sunday he visited our parish. I had the privilege of serving Mass and preaching for him. Little did we know we had a future bishop in our midst! (He’s also a regular and enthusiastic reader of these pages and therefore qualifies as a Friend of The Bench, or FOB ). I can also attest to the fact that he’s a gifted and inspiring homilist. Albany, you are blessed.
An added bonus: dude’s got a great singing voice. I joked with him after Mass, “You know, if this priest thing doesn’t work out, you could have a whole other career…”
I think “this priest thing” is working out just fine.”
Let us pray as we move forth in a new chapter in our diocese! God bless Bishop Howard J. Hubbard for his years of service. God bless our new Bishop Ed Scharfenberger! Welcome to Albany!