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Bishop Mitchell Rozanski Ready for Springfield Installation

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 2.16.32 PM(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) (WGGB)–Western Massachusetts prepares for the installation of Springfield’s new bishop on Tuesday.

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Archdiocese of Baltimore becomes Springfield’s ninth bishop replacing Bishop Timothy McDonnell who is retiring.

Bishop Rozanski will use the chalice and patin given to him 30 years ago when he was first ordained a priest.

He will also have with him the crozier given him by priests of the Springfield Diocese.

On Friday Bishop Rozanski sat down for an interview with abc40’s Ray Hershel:

Hershel: “What are your immediate priorities as you take over as bishop of this diocese?”

Rozanski: “First of all I would serve the priests, the deacons, the religious and the people of the diocese of Springfield best by learning to know who they are , by going out into the parishes, the schools, the different institutions, meeting with them, hearing their stories, and in taking that time to learn who the people are of the diocese of Springfield, I feel I would best have a base to serve them.”

Hershel: “You are the first Polish American bishop to lead the Springfield diocese , can you talk a little about your polish background and how it impacted your faith, your life as you became a priest.”

Rozanski :”Growing up in East Baltimore where there was a very heavy Polish population, the church was really the center of our social life , it was the center of our religious life , our education, so our lives really centered around the church and I believe that had a great impact on me as I saw the positive impact the church had upon the people , upon the neighborhood, upon the wider community, and that really made me feel drawn to the priesthood.”

Hershel: “On the question of Cathedral high school that was destroyed by a tornado 3 years ago , it is going to be rebuilt on the current site on Surrey Road any idea now in terms of time-table on when that school might re-open?”

Rozanski: “I know the issue of Cathedral is probably the first major issue that I will deal with as the bishop of Springfield, so immediately after the installation I probably will have a series of meetings, with different folks, to see what the progress has been so far, I know there is a bit of a government issue, we have to deal with in terms of FEMA, the insurance issues, but what we want to do is we have a chance to rebuild with a chance to rebuild in the right way and we want to do it so we can serve the students of Cathedral high school the best way that we can.”

Hershel: “You have just turned 56 years old, you could be here in the Springfield diocese for perhaps 20 years , retirement age is 75, God willing, as you look at the long-range goals what would you like to accomplish while you’re here and what legacy would you like to establish here if you’re here for that period of time,?”

Rozanski: “Pope Francis really gives to bishops, to priests, deacons, religious and to laity, all of us the call to re ach out and bring others closer to the lord, so if over these next 20 years I use the joy of the gospel as the magna carta for my ministry here , we reach out to others, in a positive way, in a way of welcome in a way of bringing those who have left the church back to the church I feel we would have accomplished a lot.”

Bishop Rozanski’s installation takes place Tuesday at 2pm at St. Michael’s Cathedral.

At 5pm, there will be a public reception to meet the new bishop at the Better Living Center at the Big E in West Springfield.

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