In the life of the Diocese of Greensburg and her bishop, Lawrence E. Brandt, this is an important and momentous day. Today is the seventy-fifth birthday of Bishop Brandt who has served our Diocese for the past ten years (as of March 4th). As I get closer to that age, seventy-five is not that old. However, it is the age when, according to the present Code of Canon Law (Church law), a bishop must submit his letter of resignation to the Holy Father, and according to the announcement on our Diocesan Web site today, the letter was submitted by Bishop Brandt. What now?
Bishop Brandt remains our bishop until a new bishop is appointed by the Holy See and his resignation is accepted. This could take some time. When the late Bishop Bosco retired, it took about a year and a half until his resignation was accepted and Bishop Brandt was named to Greensburg. The appointment of the new bishop of Harrisburg who was just installed last week took less than a year. There is uncertainty in timing under Pope Francis, since we have not had enough time to study his selection process. There are, according to the Diocesan article, four other Latin Rite Archbishops and bishops who have submitted their letters but are still waiting. When the letter of resignation is accepted and a new bishop named, Bishop Brandt will most likely be named Administrator of the Diocese until the new man is ordained or installed.
Bishop Brandt has served the Church as priest, in the diplomatic service of the Vatican, as pastor and in administration in the Diocese of Erie, and as Bishop of Greensburg. We are grateful for his priesthood and his ministry. He has critics (who doesn't, especially when you have to make decisions) and people who do not like him (but even I have those, and I am such a lovable person - who can account for taste), but he has many who have been touched by him, been been shown love and care, have experienced Christ through his ministry, and who love and respect him.
What do we do now? We continue to be Church. We continue to proclaim the Good News. We continue to face the challenges with hope. We wait and we pray for Bishop Brandt and we begin to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the decision process that will provide us with the fifth Bishop of Greensburg.