Bishop Phillip Straling of the Reno Diocese receives early retirement
Appeal Staff Writer
Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday accepted a request for early retirement from Bishop Phillip Straling of the Reno Catholic Diocese.
Straling, 72, is three years younger than the mandatory retirement age of 75. He was appointed the sixth bishop to the Reno diocese March 21, 1995, after the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas was divided in two.
“I will have served as a bishop for 27 years this November and I no longer have the stamina that is needed to best serve the diocese,” Straling said.
“The pastoral needs continue to grow as more and more people move into Northern Nevada. Likewise we have completed or are nearing completion of a number of major projects and programs. This is a good time for a new bishop to lead the diocese into the future.”
The Most Reverend Phillip F. Straling, D.D., was ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Church on March 19, 1959; named the first bishop of the newly established diocese of San Bernardino July 18, 1978; ordained a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church Nov. 6, 1978; appointed bishop of the Diocese of Reno March 21, 1995, and installed on June 29, 1995.
The Rev. Jerry Hanley of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community in Carson City said he was surprised at Straling’s early retirement.
“He’s been a good man for us,” Hanley said. “It’s a big surprise – to all of us and the people. I had no idea this would come.
“We consider him a friend as well as a bishop. He really loved the people. and he’s always been here for us priests.
“He will be greatly missed. He’s been a wonderful leader and helped us with our great growth. He’s a true follower of Jesus and brings others with him. It’s a hard job.”
“He’s tired and doesn’t have the energy to continue,” said Brother Matthew Cunningham of the Reno Diocese. “He first was bishop at San Bernardino, then came here. The two of them at each time are rapidly growing areas. It takes a huge amount of energy to keep up with demand of the job.”
Cunningham said Straling wants the diocese to have someone with energy who could be in the position the next 10 years.
“He feels somebody else could do a better job,” Cunningham added.
Cunningham said the replacement process could take six months or more as diocesan consultors convene to elect an administrator until a new bishop is appointed by the pope. He added Straling has not retired from the priesthood and will be available to do Sunday Masses when requested.
“He could still be in charge until the new bishop is appointed,” Cunningham said.
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