Chesterton Tribune



Gary bishop turns 75 and offers pope his resignation

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GARY, Ind. (AP) - The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Gary has submitted his resignation to the pope, as required under church law at age 75.

Bishop Dale Melczek tells The Times of Munster he doesn’t expect Pope Francis to act immediately on his letter.

“He will begin a process that will lead to the eventual appointment of a successor. It could take a few months or it could even take a year,” Melczek said. “I mentioned to the Holy Father my gratitude to God for the gift of life, the gift of faith in baptism, an essential in my life, and then the call to minister to God’s people as a priest and bishop.”

Melczek will become the fifth bishop in Indiana to retire in recent years, all of them serving at least two decades.

Melczek was ordained a priest in 1964 and consecrated an auxiliary bishop in his native Detroit in 1983. He assumed the post as the Gary diocese’s third bishop in 1996.

During that time the diocese has grown to 186,420 church members from 182,115, although a number of urban congregations have dispersed and the number of religious orders in the diocese declined.

“In the past, we have had to close a number of parishes. There has been a great population shift in our people,” he said.

The challenge for the next bishop will be working with the clergy and religious and lay leaders to determine how the diocese can staff its parishes and keep its schools vital to the faith, he said. He said he will remain involved.

“I will be called to serve the church through prayers and through helping out in parishes, but in a different way, without administrative responsibilities,” he said.



Posted 11/11/2013