Pope Francis picks Queens priest to lead Albany diocese
Monsignor Edward Scharfenberger, a 65-year-old Brooklyn-born, Vatican-educated priest and pastor of a parish in Queens, will become the 10th bishop of Albany on April 10. His selection by Pope Francis to succeed Bishop Howard Hubbard was announced Tuesday.
Scharfenberger, who also has been a lawyer for more than two decades, played a significant role in how the Diocese of Brooklyn handled the clergy sex scandal as a member of the Diocesan Review Board for Sexual Abuse of Minors.
“I want to be a healer. I want to be a listener. I want to be a reconciler, but I can’t do it alone,” Scharfenberger said when he was introduced at a morning news conference at the Pastoral Center of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese.
“Let’s just get to know each other…walk together,” Scharfenberger said, adding that he wants to bring back those who have been alienated by the church.
And in a reference to the closing of parishes with dwindling congregations, he said: “If we had more people coming into the churches, we wouldn’t have to close any churches.”
He leads St. Matthias Church in Ridgewood, a multi-ethnic church with a large German congregation, which offers services and hears confessions in German. In addition to German, Scharfenberger speaks Spanish, Italian and French. His recent assignments also included vicar for strategic planning and episcopal vicar for Queens.
The next bishop showed that he is an engaging conversationalist, quick to smile and laugh, as when he told of his surprise a week ago on learning of his new assignment.
I’ll limit myself to saying +Scharfenberger certainly has his work cut out for him.