| ||Notes for LOUIS E. GELINEAU:|
After a quarter century a Spiritual leader of Rhode Island's Catholics, Bishop Louis E. Gelineau retired on June 11,1997 after having been diagnosed with prostate cancer. His request to retire actually was made before the cancer diagnosis. Bishop Gelineau said that at age 69 it was time for a change but he will remain with the diocese in an a supporting role to be defined at a later date.
Bishop Gelineau presided over the diocese during a period of extraordinary change in the Church, libralized by Vatican II and beset by deep debate over abortion, the role of women, and the decline of religeous vocations. Also during his tenure, many of the Body of Christ had their faith rocked by a number of cases of sexual abuse by diocesan priests. "The scandals were the low points of my career" said Bishop Gelineau. Among the high points he said was his pastoral work. "The good celebrations I've had with people, lifting them up in prayer, being a leader in prayer, helping people grow in touch with the Spirit of God, helping them to grow holy....and I have grown holy in the process", he said.
At times, the news conference about his retirement sounded like a medical seminar. Bishop Gelineau urged men over 50 to have regular testing for this common ailment."I had no signs of anything"he said; "without the test, it could have spread".Doctors suspicians were first raised in 1993 after seeing the results of a PSA test. Annual biopsies were negative until this spring when a small local tumor was discovered. Because it was caught early, there is every reason to believe he will have a complete recovery.
Bishop Gelineau will be remembered as a strong administrator witha good memory for names and faces. He managed a diocese of roughly 5,000 employees, 157 churches, 62 schools with 17,000 students, and 650,000 catholics. Almost two thirds of allRhode Islanders are Catholic. Bishop Gelineau was very different than his predecessor; he frequently went to see the parishes and schools etc that were his responsibility.
In closing the news conference, Bishop Gelineau left this message: "God has been generous with the graces I needed during difficult times and my life has been filled with the joys of many good times. I express again my profound thanks to God and to you the clergy, the religeous, and the laity of the diocese, who have shown me the meaning of true Christian love and friendship".