WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has named Msgr. Joseph C. Bambera, 53, as bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., and Father Terry R. LaValley, also 53, as bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, N.Y.
Bishop-designate Bambera and Bishop-designate LaValley had both been serving as administrators of their respective dioceses.
The appointments were announced Feb. 23 in Washington by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
In Scranton, Bishop-designate Bambera succeeds Bishop Joseph F. Martino, who resigned last August for health reasons. His episcopal ordination and installation with be April 26 at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton.
Bishop-designate LaValley succeeds Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, who was named to the Diocese of Syracuse, N.Y., last April. His episcopal ordination and installation will be April 30 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg.
At a news conference in Scranton, Bishop-designate Bambera said that as a Scranton priest he has felt privileged to serve his diocese in various assignments. Now as a bishop, he said, his role is “to call the people of God to holiness and mission.”
“The people of this diocese are our greatest blessing and I have been so privileged to walk the journey of faith with many of you. I’ve been blessed to share in your joys and hopes,” he said. “And I am also keenly aware of the struggles that we have faced together.
“In addition to the personal losses and setbacks that touch everyone’s lives, as a diocese, we’ve struggled with change, parish restructuring and church and school closures,” he said. “We continue to do so. But notice that through all of these challenges, despite the pain that so often comes from loss, life goes on. The good news is that a meaningful and fulfilling life can go on because of our faith in Jesus.”
Bishop-designate LaValley said in a statement that his eagerness to serve as Ogdensburg’s next bishop “is fueled by my great respect for the faithful, hard-working priests with whom I share the ministry of the priesthood. I assure them of my continual prayers as we together serve the pastoral needs of our sisters and brothers.”
“We are indebted to our dedicated deacons, religious, and lay faithful who are all so essential to the growth and vitality of this local church,” he said.
“Christ beckons each of us: ‘Follow Me.’ Hope-filled pilgrims of faith that we are, let us confidently begin this new phase of our faith journey,” he added. “I thank the Holy Father for his trust in my leadership of that journey with you, my sisters and brothers. This servant stands before you today pledging you my best efforts to help us all get to heaven.”
Bishop-designate Bambera has served the Scranton Diocese as director of ecumenism and interfaith affairs, vicar for priests and director of religious formation. He also has been pastor or administrator at a number of parishes.
Born March 21, 1956, in Carbondale, Pa., he attended the University of Pittsburgh from 1974-78 and the University of Scranton from 1978-79. He pursued his seminary studies at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northhampton, Pa., and was ordained a priest for the Scranton Diocese in 1983.
He earned a canon law degree in 1991 from St. Paul University in Ottawa and in 1998 was named a monsignor.
The Scranton Diocese covers about 8,800 square miles. It has a Catholic population of 325,000 out of a total population of 1 million.
Before he was named diocesan administrator for Ogdensburg, Bishop-designate LaValley spent five years as Bishop Cunningham’s delegate to implement and oversee diocesan compliance with the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” He also was chairman of the diocesan review board.
Bishop-designate LaValley has been rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg since 2003. He also has been associate secretary of the diocesan marriage tribunal and has served on the priest’s council.
He was episcopal vicar and chancellor under Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito, who was Ogdensburg’s bishop from January 2000 until he was appointed to head the Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., in July 2003. Bishop Cunningham was named to Ogdensburg in March 2004.
A native of Mooers Forks, N.Y., Bishop-designate LaValley spent six years in the Navy, from 1977-83, before he entered the seminary. In 1984 he received a certificate in philosophy from Wadhams Hall Seminary College in Ogdensburg. He received a Master of Divinity degree in 1988 from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, N.Y., in the Buffalo Diocese. He was ordained for the Ogdensburg Diocese in 1988.
His assignments after ordination included serving as parochial vicar, administrator or pastor at several parishes.
Born March 26, 1956, he attended the State University of New York at Plattsburgh before joining the Navy. While in the service, he completed his undergraduate studies, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1980 from State University of New York at Albany.
In 1994 he earned a master’s degree in civil law and a canon law degree from St. Paul’s University in Ottawa.
The Ogdensburg Diocese covers about 12,000 square miles and has a Catholic population of 113,000 out of a total population of 492,000.
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