Most Rev. Plácido Rodríguez, CMF, writes Pope Francis to request retirement

Published: Oct. 12, 2015 at 3:54 PM CDT|Updated: Jan. 10, 2016 at 4:54 PM CST
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Provided by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lubbock

During a press conference this morning at Christ the King Cathedral, Most Rev. Plácido Rodríguez, CMF, read aloud the letter he sent to Pope Francis resigning his position as Bishop of Lubbock.

As mandated by Canon Law, when a bishop reaches the age of 75, he must resign his office. Bishop Rodríguez celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday. The transition out of the role and into retirement could take as long as 14 months.

Bishop Rodríguez said, "The pope will be the one to appoint the new bishop. In the meantime, I am responsible for the church."

Installed as the second Bishop of Lubbock on June 1, 1994, Bishop Rodríguez will be the first to retire from the office. His predecessor, Most Reverend Michael Sheehan, was appointed the eleventh Archbishop of Santa Fe in 1993. Archbishop Sheehan turned 75 in July 2014 and it was 11 months later when Most Reverend John Wester was installed Archbishop of Santa Fe in June 2015.

Bishop Rodríguez stressed that this transition is an opportunity for renewal and awareness of God's visitation on the Diocese of Lubbock, through the retirement and receiving the appointment of a new Bishop of Lubbock.

"It is a moment of grace and renewal." "Truly we are One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church," he remarked. "It is my hope that there will be a deepening of our Catholic identity, that our roots be truly apostolic, and that we grow in confidence in the faith, that we will invite others to join us in the Joy of the Gospel, so that all Catholics may be around the Eucharistic table."

According to Rev. Monsignor Gene Driscoll, Vicar General of the Diocese of Lubbock, the next steps are to pray, prepare and to wait for news from the Vatican.

The 136,894 self-identified Catholics of the 25-county diocese entered a year of preparation last October. Since that time, a steering committee for the Episcopal Transition was formed and its members are actively working on various aspects of the transition. Several committee members
have attended recent events in other dioceses to familiarize themselves with the liturgies, special events and logistical requirements that will accompany the installation of a new bishop.

Additionally, a spiritual renewal committee has prepared prayers and liturgical materials that have been in use in the 63 parishes of the diocese since last spring.

In his 21 years as the principal pastor, administrator and teacher of the Diocese of Lubbock, Bishop Rodríguez has served in a number of capacities beyond the diocesan borders.

Some of his appointments have included service on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committees on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Hispanic Affairs, Laity, Campaign for Human Development, and the Liaison Committee with the Conference of Major Superiors.

Bishop Rodríguez has served on the boards of Midwest Hispanic Catholic Commission, South Bend, Indiana; Kenedy Memorial Foundation, Corpus Christi; Safer Foundation, Chicago; Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital, Chicago; Catholic Charities, Lubbock; Saint Mary of the Plains Hospital and Covenant Health System, Lubbock.

He has been a strong advocate for the rights of the unborn, the sick, the elderly, the poor, the migrant, the immigrant and the incarcerated. During each legislative session in Austin, Bishop Rodríguez is a familiar face in the halls of the State Capitol, leading a large delegation from the
Diocese of Lubbock to participate in Catholic Advocacy Day.


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