Click here to see part 1 of the exclusive interview with Bishop Emeritus John D’Arcy
BRIGHTON, Mass. (www.incnow.tv) – Bishop John D’Arcy came to Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in 1985. He left his hometown, his home archdiocese and his family for the fields of 14 counties in Northern Indiana.
“I was told when I came that Fort Wayne and South Bend are divided.” D’Arcy in an exclusive interview with 21Alive’s Melissa Long from his Boston home as he undergoes treatment for brain and lung cancer. “But I gave equal strength to both. South Bend is important; it’s not secondary.”
The Diocese of Fort Wayne was established in 1857, and incorporated the northern half of the state. Portions of the Diocese of Fort Wayne were split into the Diocese of Lafayette in 1944 and the Diocese of Gary in 1957. South Bend remained part of the Diocese of Fort Wayne, and the diocese was named Fort Wayne-South Bend in 1960 to reflect that. St. Matthew's parish in South Bend was made co-cathedral in 1960, also.
Extended Interview: Bishop D'Arcy On Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend
When D’Arcy left Boston, the archdiocese was entrenched in a sex abuse scandal that D’Arcy spoke out against for years.
When he arrived in Fort Wayne-South Bend, the bishop says he regularly sought counsel from brother priests and parishioners of the diocese.
“I’ve always been devoted to priests,” D'Arcy says. “It’s an office of love. Pastoral love.”
D’Arcy’s time as bishop saw many milestones, including the launch of the diocesan TV Mass on Sunday mornings, the inception of the Annual Bishop’s Appeal fundraiser, the restoration of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in 1998. He also presided over the Great Jubilee of 2000 and the 150th anniversary of the diocese in 2007.
Extended Interview: Bishop D'Arcy On Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
The bishop also saw difficult moments in his tenure; notably, a fire that destroyed St. Mary’s Catholic Church in 1994, and the merging of other parishes throughout the diocese.
“One of the most difficult things has been the closing of parishes,” D’Arcy said in a special tribute publication released by the diocese upon his retirement. “It was painful to close them.”
Extended Interview: Bishop D'Arcy On Retirement
On Nov. 14, 2009, Most Rev. Kevin Rhoades, then-Bishop of Harrisburg, Pa., was appointed to replace D’Arcy. The Catholic Church mandates bishops retire at age of 75.
Bishop Rhoades was installed in Fort Wayne-South Bend on Jan. 13, 2010, as D’Arcy neared 78.
After 24 years as bishop--the second longest tenure in diocesan history--D’Arcy admits retirement has not always been easy proposition.
“You’re giving up what’s called in theological literature your spouse.” he says. “How can you be pleased to give up something that you love, and where you’ve received love?”
Extended Interview: Bishop D'Arcy's Message To The People
“But it was right; and there were graces in that retirement, too.”
In retirement, D’Arcy often celebrates Mass at St. John’s Catholic Church in Fort Wayne and St. Mother Theodore Guérin Chapel on Cathedral Square. He also has served as chaplain of Bishop Luers High School.
“I’m back to being a priest.”
Click on the video icons for the newscast version of part 2 and extended interviews, and be sure to view a special photo album of Bishop D'Arcy on this page. To see part 1, click here here.
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