By Jim Fair
Pope Francis on May 4, 2020, announced that he has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon as the Bishop of Joliet and appointed Bishop Richard E. Pates, Bishop Emeritus of Des Moines, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese. Bishop Pates has been serving in this capacity while Bishop Conlon has been on medical leave.
“On behalf of the entire diocese, I extend to Bishop Conlon heartfelt thanks for the dedicated and effective ministry that he has rendered the Diocese of Joliet during his tenure as its shepherd. We assure the bishop of our continuing prayer, especially for his good health. May his retirement be a blessed time. We feel fortunate that he intends to remain with us in the diocese. We look forward to celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving and reception in his honor soon.” Bishop Pates said.
Bishop Conlon was appointed to his current post on May 17, 2011, and installed on July 14, 2011. On December 27, 2019, Pope Francis granted Bishop Conlon a medical leave of absence.
May 4, 2020, Statement from Bishop R. Daniel Conlon
What a great privilege and blessing to serve as the Bishop of Joliet for the past nine years. Now I am grateful to Pope Francis for accepting my request to resign from that office and move into a new phase of life.
2019 was a challenging year for me. I experienced a lot of stress and fatigue, which I did not always handle well, along with some serious medical issues, plus the death of my best friend. I knew I needed a break. The leave of absence the Holy Father granted me at the beginning of this year was a huge blessing. I experienced personal healing and was able to recognize that, at 71, I am no longer able to carry the burden of leadership of a large diocese.
I am very grateful to the people of this diocese, for their faith and the generosity with which they use their gifts for the sake of the Gospel. We are blessed with wonderful priests and deacons, men and women religious and, of course, beautiful lay men and women, young and old. My hope is to continue to live and minister among you and even reside in one of our rectories.
Finally, I want to thank the members of the diocesan curia who have worked closely with me to provide leadership and service. They are talented and dedicated people. More recently on the scene is Bishop Richard Pates, who came out of retirement to serve as Apostolic Administrator during my leave of absence and is staying until the Pope appoints a new bishop for the diocese. Thank you, Bishop Pates.
Confident in the love, mercy, and power of God, we are always able to “Take Courage.”
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