Today marks the official change of leadership for the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese.
On February 11th, Reverend Monsignor Edward Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Brooklyn was announced as the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Albany. Scharfenberger was hand-selected to replace the retiring Howard Hubbard by Pope Francis: in his initial meeting with Albany media, Bishop-designate Scharfenberger's personal outlook seemed to echo that of Francis when he talked about community. "Politics is obviously a big part of being in Albany. But I have to get to know people first - I'm very passionate about life and all it's stake, and concerned about treating people differently because they're in different classes, and I'll say the words. Whether black or white, male or female, gay or straight, putting people in classes, stereotyping, I have something inside me that goes against that. People have to be treated as people first."
Scharfenberger studied for the priesthood in Rome, earning a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical North American College in Rome and a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Lateran University’s Accademia Alfonsiana, also in Rome.
He also holds a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington and a law degree from Fordham University. He was named a monsignor in 1995.
The Albany Diocese has spent nearly four decades under Bishop Hubbard. Over last weekend, Hubbard performed his final confirmation mass as tenured leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.
Upon reaching age 75 October 31st, Hubbard was required by canon law to turn in his resignation to the pope. Named to head the Albany diocese in March 1977, when he was 38, he became the youngest Catholic bishop in the nation. Hubbard plans to stay active during retirement: "One of the things I would like to do is be available to help out on weekends or weekdays in parish communities where there's not a priest available or to celebrate mass in nursing homes and jails or prisons."
Hubbard says several people have encouraged him to write, something he hasn't ruled out. "Maybe with the refreshment of retirement I'll commit myself to view some of the things I've already written about and maybe expand upon that."
Edward Scharfenberger's formal installation and ordination mass is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany.