New Fort Worth bishop reflects upon sudden death of predecessor

.- It was a mix of happiness and sorrow at the ordination Wednesday of Fort Worth’s third bishop. Bishop Kevin Vann was installed as the new bishop only one day after the death of his predecessor, Bishop Joseph Delaney.

"Change for any of us is never easy," Bishop Vann said. "This is especially true for us with the death of Bishop Delaney. How we are beginning now had not been my plan, or that of Bishop Delaney, or many of us. But this is the moment the Lord has given us."

Bishop Delaney was ordained to the episcopate Sept. 13, 1981 and had served the 425,000-member diocese for nearly 24 years.

In May, Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Msgr. Vann of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., to serve as coadjutor bishop of Fort Worth, but the monsignor was installed as bishop after Bishop Delaney died suddenly this week.

A wake for Bishop Delaney will be held Sunday at St. Patrick Cathedral at 7 p.m. The funeral mass will be celebrated Monday at 2 p.m.

About 3,000 worshippers gathered for the 54-year-old’s ordination at the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum at Texas Christian University, reported the Star-Telegram. Among them were more than 20 bishops, Bishop Vann's mother, Theresa, 76, and his father, William, 79.

City officials and area religious leaders also attended the three-hour event, as did parishioners from dozens of parishes and 30 members of a youth group. Prayers and Scripture reflected the cultural diversity of the diocese and were read in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Several parishioners told the newspaper that they hope the new bishop would emphasize the traditional teachings of the Church.

Last year, the monsignor had gained media attention when he said he would not give Communion to pro-choice Sen. Dick Durbin at his parish, Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield, Ill., where he was also charged with the Hispanic ministry of the diocese.

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