Pueblo, Colo., Jun 13, 2013 / 05:33 am
Pope Francis announced on June 13 that he has accepted the early resignation of Bishop Fernando Isern of Pueblo, Colo., effective today, due to poor health and for the good of the local Church.
"In a spirit of prayerful reflection, the bishop recognized that his health may be an obstacle for the growth of the diocese," a source within the Diocese of Pueblo told CNA.
"He chose to resign in order to entrust his flock to a man with the strength and energy necessary to be an effective shepherd."
Bishop Isern was the fourth bishop of Pueblo, and has shepherded the diocese since December 2009. He is 54 years old.
Canon law "earnestly requests" that "a diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health" present early resignation from his office. The normal retirement age for bishops is 75.
"For some time I have had health concerns that have made it increasingly difficult for me to remain in office as shepherd of this diocese," Bishop Isern wrote in a letter to the Pueblo diocese June 13. "Out of love for the Church and for the people I have served here, I have discerned it is best for me to step down."
The bishop's episcopal motto is "The love of Christ urges us on." That love, he wrote, "will always lead me to place my life at the disposal of the will of God and of My Mother, the Church."
He asked that the people of Pueblo welcome his successor as warmly as they welcomed him, and that "you continue to pray for me as I take up this cross that Christ has seen fit for me to carry."