The faithful of the Diocese of Springfield looked with great hope to the installation of Bishop Timothy McDonnell yesterday, who is expected to bring healing and restore faith in the diocese.
About 44 bishops attended the installation at St. Michael's Cathedral last week, including Cardinal Edward Egan of New York, Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston, and Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the papal nuncio of the United States.
The installation of the diocese's eighth bishop marked the beginning of a period of healing for the faithful after scandal broke. In addition to lawsuits by alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse, McDonnell's predecessor, Bishop Thomas Dupre, was accused of molesting two boys.
In his address, Archbishop Montalvo referred to the scandal and said the Pope was aware the people ''had endured a period of suffering," reported the Associated Press.
''He wanted to send you a pastor and a father to heal your suffering," said Archbishop Montalco, "to restore faith .... and renew the hearts of all."
Bishop McDonnell had already begun to address the scandal prior to his installation. Earlier this week, he met with a mediator to try to settle 15 of the 21 lawsuits. He also invited the alleged victims to the installation, including the two who say they were abused by his predecessor, reported the AP.
The 66-year-old bishop was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York in 1963, and served his entire life in parish ministry.
Bishop McDonnell had a six-month stint at Covenant House in 1990, when he helped the organization regain its reputation, after the founder and director was accused of child molestation and financial wrongdoing.
He was named auxiliary bishop of New York in 2001.