Bishop James Wingle of the St. Catharines Diocese has unexpectedly quit. (July 19, 2002)
07 April 2010
Nicole O’Reilly Hamilton Spectator
THOROLD, ONT.–The Bishop of the Diocese of St. Catharines unexpectedly stepped down Wednesday, without a word of warning to the diocese’s chancellery.
Bishop James Wingle, 63, offered little detail when he announced his immediate departure in a letter distributed to the diocese and published on its website Wednesday morning. According to the Vatican Information Service, the Pope accepted Wingle’s resignation.
Wingle, who was first appointed bishop for the diocese in 2002, wrote, “I am no longer able to maintain the necessary stamina to fulfill properly my duties. I believe that my resignation will serve not only my own spiritual and personal well-being, but the good of the diocese and the church as well.”
Monsignor Wayne Kirkpatrick, chancellor for the diocese, said speculation is Wingle is ill.
Wingle went on to ask for God’s mercy and the understanding of parishioners if his “shortcomings and limitations have cause any disappointment.”
Reached at the diocese chancellery in Thorold, Kirkpatrick said he had no idea the bishop was going to resign, but was giving him the time and space he believed the bishop needed before attempting contact.
“It sounds like the bishop was becoming overwhelmed with his responsibilities,” Kirkpatrick said, adding that Wingle was not a man to say no to any request.
“He will be greatly missed.”
Wingle could not be reached for comment.
Ontario bishop resigns suddenly
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | 9:02 PM ET
The bishop of a Roman Catholic diocese in southern Ontario has unexpectedly resigned from his post.
Bishop James Wingle, who led the Diocese of St. Catharines since 2002, submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI. It was accepted Wednesday morning and was effective immediately. Wingle, 63, provided no specific reason for his resignation.
In a letter to parishioners, posted on the diocese website, Wingle wrote that he decided to resign after much prayer and reflection. He said it is not easy to leave the people he has come to “love and cherish.”
“The duties of the office of a diocesan bishop call for vigorous stamina to meet the challenges of leadership,” he wrote. “I am no longer able to maintain the necessary stamina to fulfill properly my duties.
“It has been a privilege and a blessing to have served with you,” he added. “If my shortcomings and limitations have caused any disappointment, I ask for God’s mercy and your understanding. I pray that the work we have accomplished in the service of the Lord and his church will bear much fruit, now and in the years to come. ”
Wingle worked for the Ontario Attorney General’s office for five years in the 1970s before becoming an ordained priest for the diocese of Pembroke in Eganville, Ont. in 1977.
In 1993, he was named bishop of Yarmouth, N.S., and he served in that province until he moved to St. Catharines on Jan. 24, 2002.
Those who knew Wingle said the resignation came as a shock.
“There was no mention … This came as a surprise to us all,” said Msgr. Wayne Kirkpatrick of the St. Catharines diocese. “We’re surmising from that that it is a matter of illness, but we don’t know.
Kirkpatrick said the next step for the diocese is to elect an administrator until a new bishop is appointed, which could take months or longer.
With files from The Canadian Press