Rozanski addresses diocese after St. Louis trip 

  • Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/11/2020 1:06:35 PM
Modified: 6/11/2020 1:06:24 PM

SPRINGFIELD — Less than 24 hours after being introduced as the 10th archbishop of St. Louis, Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski flew back to western Massachusetts and said he remains committed to overseeing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield for the next two months.

In a short press conference, he also touched on some subjects that he addressed during his six-year tenure as bishop, including the merger of  Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic high schools into Pope Francis Preparatory School, which Rozanski announced in the spring of 2015. 

“It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my life,” Rozanski said Thursday from the Bishop Marshall Center in Springfield.

“It’s not easy to say goodbye but I’m grateful to Pope Francis to allow me to stay on as director of the diocese until I’m installed on Aug. 25,” Rozanski said.

Rozanski said it was two weeks ago that he learned of his new appointment from Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States.

During his tenure, Rozanski said he was most proud that the diocese has been able to ordain several Latino deacons. These men, he said, have been invaluable for doing outreach to Spanish-speaking communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven a challenge for churches across the country, especially from the financial impacts of losing weekly collections and reduced offerings. But he said the pandemic has demonstrated the resiliency of people, pointing to students who have given him great hope, despite having their lives disrupted and seniors who have lost traditions such as graduations.

Rozanski said his greatest joy has been visiting each parish in the diocese for a couple of days, being able to meet parishioners and then provide reports back to them on his observations.

Though a successor has not yet been named, Rozanski said he will give that person similar advice to what he received in 2014 from his predecessor, Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell. That advice included learning from priests, deacons, other religious women and men and laypeople.

“Rely on the wisdom that is here (and) the commitment of the faith of the people of the diocese,” Rozanski said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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