The news broke Monday night. Msgr. Joseph Bambera would be the tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton.
The move surprised many. Talk on the street was that Msgr. Joseph Quinn, a very popular local priest, now at Fordham University in New York, was the clear favorite and front runner.
Those who talk don't know, and those who know, don't talk.
We'll never know what went into the Bambera selection. At first blush, it appears to be a good choice. I spoke with many who know Msgr. Bambera. They like him-- a lot. He's proven himself as vicar general for the last six months-- the man in charge of the diocese in the absence of a bishop.
Bishop-Elect Bambera has his work cut out for him. The diocese is millions in debt. Many parishioners are still stinging from a round of school and church closings.
Some feel Bambera's predecessor, Bishop Joseph Martino did the hard part. He wielded the axe and left Bambera with a clean slate. Bambera does have to reverse the alienation that many feel. Again, those who know him feel Bambera is up to the task.
You don't see a Cardinal in Scranton every day, and I had never met Msgr. Bambera, so I walked over to introduce myself, and congratulate the Monsignor. He seems like a nice enough chap-- someone who will be what the area needs most-- a people person. Most will agree that it was not Martino's strong suit.
As I exchanged very brief remarks with Cardinal Rigali, I noted his accessibility. He never turned down an interview request from WNEP, during the occasions he visited the Scranton diocese. The Cardinal smiled, looking much younger than his 75 years. He seemed happy that his willingness to speak was noticed, and appreciated.
It's now on to the installation ceremony, set for 2:00 PM, April 26. Whether or not you're a Roman Catholic, these services are really something to see.