As employees of the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., joined local press to meet their new bishop, Bishop-designate Edward B. Scharfenberger, there were mixed feelings.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Ginny Daley, secretary to Bishop Howard J. Hubbard.
Having worked for Bishop Hubbard for 15 years, she said she is thankful for his service.
“He treats everyone, regardless of their views, with dignity and respect,” she said, adding that she also believes the new bishop will feel very welcome in his new diocese.
Frank Berning, director of Pastoral Planning for the Diocese of Albany, said he found the press conference to be very positive and was pleased to hear the bishop-designate emphasize his role as a pastor. He is thankful to hear that the new bishop wants to listen to the people and to diocesan employees.
“I was impressed with the way he spoke,” said Noel Olsen, director of real property for the diocese. “He was very down to earth.”
Joyce Tarantino, human resources and safe environment director, said the bishop-designate seems to possess the qualities she most looks for in a leader: intellect and approachability. She said the new bishop should have no problem tackling the ever-present concerns of safe environment.
“I think his background gives him a great deal of credibility on that topic,” she said. “Couching the issue on healing is really wonderful.”
Berning, Olsen and Tarantino discussed the press conference during their lunch break in the cafeteria. They usually sit together for lunch and are used to having the bishop join them.
David Amico, director of lay ministry, who was also at the table, said they would often discuss local sports, especially Siena College basketball and baseball, giving Bishop Hubbard “a bit of a break.”
Although the group acknowledged that they are not sure what the future holds, they believe they will be able to work well with the new bishop and will be able to make him feel welcome.
“Hopefully he feels like he is among friends,” said John Hutchinson, chief financial officer. “He is welcome to join us for lunch, that’s for sure.”
Olsen said he is already thankful to the bishop for his kindness. During the press conference, the bishop-designate assured all those present that Bishop Hubbard will continue to be most welcome in the diocese and expressed his wish for the soon-to-be retired bishop to stay and help him.