WILMINGTON, Del. — Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, and friars from St. Paul Church here were among the more than 1,000 guests at the recent installation of the new bishop of Wilmington, the Most Rev. Francis Malooly.
Bishop Malooly was installed Sept. 8 at St. Elizabeth Church. He was auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore before being chosen to succeed former Bishop Michael Saltarelli, who retired.
Bp. Malooly is the ninth bishop in this diocese of 230,000 Catholics, which includes Delaware and nine counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The first bishop was installed 140 years ago.
“I know so many of the clergy, I believe we’ll have an easy transition,” said Bp. Malooly, a native of Baltimore, who hopes to visit his 58 parishes by February.
Also attending the installation were Christopher Posch, OFM, John Frambes, OFM, Charles Finnegan, OFM, Ronald Pecci, OFM, Michael Tyson, OFM, and Jeffery Jordan, OFM.
Todd recently moved his ministry to St. Paul, after spending several years as pastor of Holy Cross Church in the Bronx, N.Y. The parish offers a variety of liturgical, spiritual, and justice and peace ministries, and has a 95 percent Hispanic population.
Todd said he is enjoying his new work and is impressed by the growing parish, which consists mostly of parishioners of Puerto Rican, Mexican and Caribbean descent.
“The majority of the liturgies are celebrated in Spanish,” said Todd, adding that most parish groups also operate in Spanish. “Interestingly all education in the parish grammar school is in English, which is typical of many Hispanic parishes. The children assimilate quickly and learn English, while many of the parents and older parishioners prefer Spanish. The Mexican population speaks little or no English.”
“I don’t foresee these statistics changing in the near future. The immigrant and more transient population will always rely heavily on Spanish, while the Puerto Rican community, which is largely bilingual, prefers to worship and conduct meetings in Spanish. The only change that I believe is occurring here is that more and more Mexicans are coming to the parish. They soon, if not already, will be the predominant group.”
Todd is ministering with Mike, Chris and John, who live at St. Paul Friary. Mike Tyson is associate pastor at St. Paul’s and Chris is director of Hispanic ministry for the Diocese of Wilmington. John is the pastor of St. Joseph Parish, a largely African-American church in downtown Wilmington.
The friars of Holy Name Province have been in Wilmington since 1991 when they accepted the care of St. Paul, located in the city’s Hispanic area. Bishop Robert Mulvee, who knew the friars in Rye Beach, N.H., from his days as a diocesan priest in New Hampshire, welcomed the Franciscans. Several years later, the friars assumed care of St. Joseph Parish, which serves an African-American community.