News In Brief

West Virginia Priest Kept Vigil With Miners’ Families

SAGO, W.Va. — When Father Andy Kranyc heard the news of the Jan. 2 explosion at the Sago Coal Mine in Upshur County that trapped 13 coal miners 260 feet underground, he immediately left to be there for the families. Upon his arrival, the son and grandson of Pennsylvania coal miners learned that three of the miners were from his community of Philippi, roughly 25 miles from Sago, where he is pastor of St. Elizabeth Parish.

Father Kranyc stayed with the families through the duration of the ordeal. He was with them late in the evening on Jan. 3 in the Sago Baptist Church when they were told that 12 of the 13 miners were alive. But the news was wrong and the reality was that all but one of the miners were found dead.

“It was just devastating when the bad news came,” Father Kranyc said. “People just couldn’t believe it. The families I was with just sat in the pews — just staring. It was awful.”

As the hours passed through the early morning of Jan. 4, Father Kranyc stayed with the families to guide them through this difficult time and to comfort them. He said he and the other ministers helped them to remember that God was present through this tragedy.

“God could be found with the trapped miners and suffering with them and their families,” Father Kranyc said. The families held on to their faith before and after learning of the deaths of the miners, the priest said, adding that they prayed together asking that God’s will be done and for the strength to accept whatever that may be.


San Francisco Priest Named to Head Reno Diocese

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has named Father Randolph Calvo, a San Francisco archdiocesan priest, the new bishop of Reno, Nev. Bishop-designate Calvo, 54, who was born in Guam, was pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Redwood City, Calif., at the time of his appointment. The appointment was announced Dec. 23 at the Vatican.

Bishop-designate Calvo replaces Bishop Phillip Straling, who retired in June. His episcopal ordination was set for Feb. 17 in Reno, with recently named Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco presiding.

In a Dec. 23 statement, Bishop-designate Calvo said he felt “somewhat overwhelmed” at the news of his appointment. “I rely on God’s grace, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the advice and support of my co-workers and the prayers of all,” he said, to “fulfill my ministry.”


28 Bishops Could Retire For Age Reasons In 2006

WASHINGTON — Following the Jan. 3 retirement of Bishop Basil Losten of the Ukrainian Diocese of Stamford, Conn., up to 28 other U.S. bishops, including five cardinals, could retire because of age this year.

Also, Bishop Anthony Pilla of Cleveland revealed Jan. 5 that he offered his retirement to the Vatican in June. Bishop Pilla is only 73. Bishops are expected to tender their resignation at 75, though they can serve longer at the discretion of the Pope. Bishop Pilla would not disclose his reasons, although health and “stamina” seem to be factors, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

There are 14 still-active U.S. bishops, including three cardinals, who have already turned 75. Fourteen more, including two cardinals, will celebrate their 75th birthday in 2006.

Bishop Losten turned 75 last May 11. Pope Benedict XVI named as his successor Canadian-born Bishop Paul Chomnycky, who since 2002 has been apostolic exarch for Ukrainian-rite Catholics living in Great Britain.

Cardinal Edmund Szoka, 78, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, has been the oldest active U.S. cardinal since July 2003. In 2005 Cardinals Adam Maida of Detroit and Theodore McCarrick of Washington turned 75. Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore will be 75 March 4, 2006. Cardinal Bernard Law, archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, will be 75 Nov. 4, 2006.