In a speech this morning in Rochester, Bishop Matano spoke fondly of his time in Vermont, but he also acknowledged that much of his time was consumed with the priest sex abuse scandal that has caused lasting damage to the church.
Matano was introduced Wednesday morning as the ninth bishop of Rochester. The 67-year-old Matano says he considered the Burlington diocese his "bride" and expected to remain here until his retirement, but he decided to answer the call from Pope Francis. "I believe in my heart, God's will has been revealed to me in the person of our Holy Father, Pope Francis," Matano said.
Bishop Matano was ordained in Vermont in 2005 with traditional pomp and circumstance. He says the retiring Bishop Kenneth Angell was the only person he knew in Vermont and his new home took some getting used to.
"I'm a city boy from Providence, so I really didn't know one cow from the other. I didn't know what a sugar house was. I couldn't define all the different types of trees. Other than my predecessor, Bishop Angell, I didn't know anyone. But it has become my home," he said.
Matano recounted warm stories of his time in Vermont and his interactions with the faithful, but he admitted that his tenure was not all "idyllic." "It has been a very very painful time," he said.
The priest sex abuse scandal rocked the church in recent years. Child abuse from decades ago became Matano's cross to bear, as the diocese paid out millions to dozens of victims. "I take this opportunity again to apologize to the victims of sexual abuse for what they endured at the hands of those whom they have trusted," Matano said.
Matano will remain bishop in Burlington until January 3rd. There is no word yet from the church on who will replace him or when that announcement might come.
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