Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Catholic Bishop Promises Hands-on Approach

Bishop David Ricken comes to Green Bay after leading Catholics in Wyoming for more than eight years.

The 55-year-old will succeed Bishop David Zubik, who was reassigned to the Pittsburgh Diocese 13 months ago.

Ricken will be installed Thursday afternoon as the 12th bishop in the history of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay.

As he met with reporters Tuesday, he joked about the difference between the Green Bay diocese and the one in Wyoming. Instead of managing an entire state, he's just responsible for Northeast Wisconsin.

"Here it will be a lot less time in the car and more time getting to know parishioners, the people. A lot more parishes to get to know and familiarize myself with, so that's going to be a big difference."

While Wyoming was a much larger area geographically, Bishop Ricken will be responsible for more parishes in Green Bay's diocese. It's a responsibility he says he's looking forward to.

"I think the challenge will be getting to know the people and keeping them in my mind in the right place so I remember which parish they're from, but I think with time that will come also and I'm looking forward to that challenge also."

Ricken said one of his top priorities will be looking into allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the diocese.

"We want to do whatever we can to make sure this doesn't happen any more, and that's what I'm committed to, and to help those who have been hurt to help them heal in some way."

As he begins the next chapter in his career, Bishop Ricken says he knows he's coming to a well-established, strong diocese.

Ricken said he'll be hands-on as he leads the close to 350,000 who make up the Green Bay diocese but he won't be a micromanager.

He said he plans to build on the success the different parishes in the diocese have had, and comes to this new post with some interests and ideas he hopes to implement.

"I would say things I'm very interested in are Catholic education; promotion of vocation to the priesthood; enabling the laity to grow spiritually, to grow intellectually with the great treasury of knowledge of the church, and to be able to live their faith in our world today," the bishop said.

While he has some ideas, he wants to talk with parishioners before implementing anything.

"I want to listen to the people and see what their needs are so I'm not creating things that don't really work here."

Bishop Ricken can begin his work following his installation on Thursday.

"I've been a little bit around Green Bay to get to know Green Bay a little bit, and in the next few weeks I'll be getting around to the whole diocese," Bishop Ricken said, "so it's a joy to be here, and I really look forward to my time leading this diocese. Hopefully it will be a long time."
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(Source: WBAYTV)

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