On this last day of Christmas, we have news of great joy! Bishop John Charles Wester, currently auxilary to Archbishop Niederauer in San Francisco, was named by the Holy Father as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. Bishop Wester, a Northern California native, was born in 1950, ordained a priest in 1976, and consecrated bishop by then-Archbishop William Levada, currently Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in 1998. He has an extensive background as a pastor, a teacher, and as both a school and diocesan administrator. He served both Archbishops Levada and Niederauer as Vicar General and was named by the Pope Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of San Francisco between Levada's departure and Niedrauer's installation.
As a member of The Cathedral of the Madeleine's Pastoral Staff, I had the great privilege of attending Bishop Wester's introductory meeting to the Diocesan and Cathedral staffs this morning. I was impressed, above all, not by his resumé, but by his friendliness, a trait he has in common with our dearly loved and sorely missed George Niederauer. His installation will be held 14 March 2007 right here in our lovely Madeleine, with Archbishop Niederauer, as Metropolitan of the San Francisco Province, presiding. So, we are in for exciting days and a major festivity to brighten our Lent. Let our prayers be with and for Bishop Wester as he prepares to begin his ministry as the eighth successor to Bishop Lawrence Scanlan, who also came to us via San Francsico.