By Steve Tawa
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — A day before his installation as bishop of the Diocese of Camden, Bishop Dennis Sullivan reflected on his mission, as well as the stunning news about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI (read related story).
Bishop Sullivan was just getting settled in when KYW Newsradio announced breaking news from the Vatican.
“I was shocked when I heard it on 1060 news,” Sullivan said.
At the upcoming conclave, the secret meeting in the Sistine Chapel, Bishop Sullivan expects cardinals will ‘meet in the context of prayer,’ rather than what we view as a political convention to cast ballots and elect a new Pope.
“The bishop of Rome is elected by the cardinals,” Sullivan said, “And for us, the bishop of Rome is the papa, the father of the church, the Holy Father.”
Bishop Sullivan has been the top administrator in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. After his installation on Tuesday at Saint Agenes Church in Blackwood, he’ll succeed Bishop Joseph Galante, who is retiring five months short of his 75th birthday for health reasons.
His flock will be about 500,000 Catholics in six South Jersey counties.
The 67-year-old Bishop Sullivan was ordained as a priest in 1971. He’s a Bronx native, and he spent more than 20 years as pastor of a church on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He speaks Spanish and has served on several diocesan committees devoted to helping recent immigrants.