The bishop had previously announced that he would be taking a medical leave of absence as of Aug. 1, citing depression and loss of energy in recent months. At that time, the bishop had asked for prayers, saying his leave could last up to five months.
Bishop MacDonald served actively as a bishop for 26 years. He served on the permanent council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and a number of commissions, including the Commission for Relations with Associations of Clergy and Consecrated Life and Laity.
He also served as CCCB representative with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Canada and the National Catholic Broadcasting Council. Before being named to the Diocese of Saint John in 1998, he served as Bishop of Grand Falls, Newfoundland, from 1980 to 1998.
In addition to accepting the resignation of Bishop MacDonald, Pope Benedict also appointed Bishop Martin Currie as the apostolic administrator of Saint John. Bishop Currie will act as administrator of Saint John while continuing with his responsibilities as Bishop of Grand Falls. There are currently two other Canadian dioceses with apostolic administrators.
Bishop Currie, 62, was ordained to the priesthood in 1968 and ordained to the episcopate in 2001. He is currently a member of the CCCB’s Commission for Evangelization and one of two CCCB representatives on the national council of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
The Diocese of Saint John has Catholic population of 115,000 in 91 parishes and missions. The Diocese of Grand Falls serves a Catholic population of 35,000 in 72 parishes and missions.
.- Bishop Joseph Faber MacDonald of Saint John, New Brunswick, has resigned due to health reasons. The bishop’s 75th birthday, the age of retirement for bishops, is also approaching.