Catholics in Phoenix Pleased with New Leader's Message

WHAG [Phoenix AZ]
Downloaded June 23, 2003

Phoenix-AP -- Catholics in Phoenix say they're pleased with a message from their interim leader, who promises to be an "instrument of reconciliation."

Archbishop Michael Sheehan was named to head the Phoenix diocese after Bishop Thomas O'Brien stepped down. O'Brien has been charged with hitting a man with his car and driving away. The accident killed 43-year-old Jim Reed.

O'Brien had earlier been criticized over a deal with prosecutors that spared him indictment on obstruction charges for protecting priests accused of child molestation.

In a letter read throughout the diocese Sunday, Sheehan wrote that the church of Phoenix will rise to new heights "like the Phoenix bird rising from the ashes."

One parishioner at Mass in downtown Phoenix called the letter "very positive and encouraging," while another says it marks the start "of a new beginning, a new healing."


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