ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Roman Catholic bishop who oversaw the settlement of dozens of priest sex-abuse cases in Vermont and the sale of prime church property to help pay for those settlements was appointed Wednesday to be the next bishop of the Diocese of Rochester.
During a meeting with the news media, Bishop Salvatore Matano said the sex-abuse cases were painful for everyone involved and that he would focus on bringing people back to the church.
“I hope we will be able in some small way to bring back our brothers and sisters estranged from the church who no longer worship among us,” said Matano, currently the bishop of the Diocese of Burlington, which includes the entire state of Vermont.
“I pray that those who hear these words, if you are not practicing the faith, please come home, come home, we miss you. Come home, the Lord is awaiting you,” he said.
Matano’s appointment as the bishop of Rochester was announced by the Vatican. He will assume his new duties in January.
Before being named Burlington bishop in 2005, the 67-year-old native of Providence, R.I., held church posts in Washington and his hometown.
During his years in Burlington, Matano oversaw the settlement of dozens of priest sex-abuse cases, most involving a priest who served in Vermont during the 1970s. To help pay the $29.6 million in settlements reached during his tenure, the church sold some of its most valuable property.
The property included the church’s former Burlington headquarters, the last undeveloped piece of property in the city overlooking Lake Champlain, and Camp Holy Cross on the lake’s Malletts Bay.
In Rochester, Matano will replace Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark, who led the diocese for 33 years before retiring in July 2012.
The Rochester Diocese has about 300,000 worshippers in more than 100 parishes from Rochester to the Pennsylvania state line, including the Finger Lakes region.MORE IN Vermont NewsPHILADELPHIA — With his presidential campaign officially over, independent Sen. Full Story
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