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Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, the newly installed leader of the Toledo Catholic Diocese, announced more than 80 clergy appointments yesterday, most of them procedural moves required by church law when a new bishop takes office.
Bishop Blair, 54, became the seventh bishop of the 19-county diocese on Dec. 4, nearly 10 months after his predecessor, Bishop James Hoffman, died of cancer.
In the interim, Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. Donnelly had served as diocesan administrator since February, shortly after Bishop Hoffman s Feb. 8 death, and the Rev. Michael Billian had served as vicar general, who assists the bishop in the governance of the diocese.
Bishop Blair named Bishop Donnelly the vicar general, a position he held under Bishop Hoffman.
An administrator s job is to take care of diocesan business until a new bishop is installed, said Sister Marcia Marie Destatte, a canon lawyer and the diocese s tribunal director.
“A diocesan administrator, to put it simply, keeps things status quo. He is not to make any radical new changes in direction,” Sister Marcia Marie, of the Sisters of Notre Dame, said last night. “On the day the new bishop took over, his office as diocesan administrator ceased.”
A diocesan administrator cannot appoint parish pastors, but only can name priests to the job of parish administrator, a more temporary role with fewer rights than those of a pastor, Father Billian said last night.
The bulk of appointments announced yesterday involved Bishop Blair naming priests as pastors of the parishes where they already had been serving as administrators.
“He is basically confirming the appointments made by Bishop Hoffman and Bishop Donnelly,” Sister Marcia Marie said.
“In my opinion, I think this gives him time to get to know his diocese before making any major changes,” she said.
“Most parishioners will not notice any difference,” said Sally Oberski, director of communications for the diocese. “Most of the appointments were procedural.”
Bishop Blair named Father Billian to the office of episcopal vicar for administration, responsible for the daily operations of the diocese.
He no longer will hold the title of chancellor, but his new position as episcopal vicar includes the duties of chancellor. Father Billian said he also will have the duties of moderator of the curia, a position that is responsible for managing the internal affairs of the diocese.
The Rev. Nicholas Weibl remains the vicar of priests and deacons, a position to which he was appointed in January, 2001.
Sister Nancy Mathias, general superior of the Ursuline sisters, stays on as vicar for religious, Bishop Blair s personal delegate to the religious-order clerics serving in the diocese.
The Rev. John A. McClure was named judicial vicar of the tribunal of the diocese, an assembly that helps govern the diocese, and the Rev. Christopher Vasko was named the tribunal s promoter of justice.
Several other tribunal appointments were announced:
Judges: Father McClure; the Rev. James Auth; the Rev. Marvin Borger; the Rev. George Miller; the Rev. David Ross, and Father Vasko.
Associate judges: The Rev. Joseph Jaros; the Rev. William Parker, the Rev. Dennis Schroeder; the Rev. Richard Wurzel, Sister Marcia Marie; Sister Marcella Herman, and Ms. Cherry L. Heard.
Defenders of the bond: Father Borger; Father McClure; Father Vasko; the Rev. Joseph Vamos; the Rev. Ronald Warnimont; Sister Marcia Marie; Sister Marcella, and Ms. Heard.
Auditor-assessors: Sister Diane Pfahler and Sister Marcia Marie.
Procurator-advocates for respondents: Charles Honigford; Sylvia Manson-Righi; Maria Overholt, and Patricia Eingle.
Ecclesiastical notaries: Paula Butler; Charlotte Lammers, and Angela Walker.
Bishop Blair kept the college of consultors, an advisory panel that reports to the bishop, the same: Father Warnimont; the Rev. Henry Sattler; the Rev. David Reinhart; the Rev. Thomas Landgraff; the Rev. Anthony Gallagher, and Father Borger.
Leaders of the diocese s 11 deaneries were reappointed: the Rev. John Blaser; the Rev. Frederick Duschl; the Rev. Raymond Ensman; the Rev. Thomas Extejt; the Rev. G. Allan Fillman; the Rev. Michael Hohenbrink; the Rev. Franklin Kehres; the Rev. Kenneth Morman; the Rev. Robert Reinhart; Father Vasko, and the Rev. Herbert Weber.
The following priests were appointed pastors of the parishes where they had served as administrators since July:
The Rev. David Beck, St. Jude, Toledo.
The Rev. John Blaser, Emmaus Cluster (St. Thomas Aquinas; Good Shepherd, and St. Louis), Toledo.
The Rev. Stephen Blum, St. Charles Borromeo, Lima.
The Rev. Stephen Cairns, Holy Family, North Baltimore.
The Rev. Robert Dendinger, St. Bernard, New Washington, and Mother of Sorrows, North Auburn.
The Rev. Frank Eckart, East Toledo North Cluster (St. Stephen, Holy Rosary, and Sacred Heart), Toledo.
The Rev. Philip Feltman, St. Mary, Sandusky.
The Rev. James Holmer, St. Mary, Vermilion.
The Rev. Kent Kaufman, Wyandot Cluster (St. Peter, Upper Sandusky; St. Joseph, Salem Township, and Saint Mary, Kirby).
The Rev. Francis Murd, St. Joseph, Maumee.
The Rev. Arthur Niewiadomski, St. Patrick, Bascom, and St. Andrew, Liberty.
The Rev. Robert Reinhart, Blessed Sacrament, Toledo.
The Rev. David Ross, St. Mary, Tiffin, and St. Pius X, Sycamore.
The Rev. James Sanford, St. Hyacinth, Toledo.
The Rev. Herman Scherger, Immaculate Conception, Cecil; St. Mary, Antwerp, and St. Mary, Junction.
The Rev. Ronald Schock, NBP Cluster (St. Nicholas, Frenchtown; St. Boniface, New Riegel, and St. Peter, Alvada).
The Rev. Jeffrey Sikorski, St. Peter, Huron.
The Rev. Francis J. Speier, St. John the Baptist, Toledo.
The Rev. Joseph Steinbauer, Little Flower, Toledo.
The Rev. Ronald Warnimont, St. Anthony of Padua, Columbus Grove.
The Rev. Thomas Wehinger, Our Lady of Lourdes, Toledo.
The Rev. George Wenzinger, St. Mary, Leipsic.
The Rev. Jonathan Wight, All Saints, Rossford.
The Rev. Robert Wilhelm, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Toledo.
The Rev. Daniel Zak, St. Richard, Swanton.