Four years into his tenure, Bishop George Coleman reflects on his time as bishop of Fall River, Massachusetts. The newspaper notes that the small diocese on the south coast of Massachusetts has produced two cardinals for Boston in the past 35 years—the present archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who was bishop of Fall River from 1992 to 2002 and Cardinal Humerto Medeiros, who was ordained a priest for Fall River in 1946 and was archbishop of Boston 1970 to 1983.
While the newspaper intimates that one might thus expect the current bishop to be larger-than-life like his predecessors, the opposite is true. In fact, both Medeiros and O’Malley were and are humble, self-effacing men, unlike most of their brother archbishops who have served in the see of Boston. Coleman, also a native son of Fall River, is likewise. He’s low key, but he’s getting the job done, they say.
Unfortunately, it’s the way of the world—and of the press—to measure success in terms of dollars, but even there Bishop Coleman isn’t doing a bad job. The diocese’s most recent annual appeal missed its goal by a tiny bit, which is remarkable considering that one might say that the clergy sex-abuse scandal really broke open, not in Boston, but in Fall River, with the Father James Porter case grabbing national headlines in 1992.
Yet under then-Bishop O’Malley and Bishop Coleman, the diocese seems to have come through largely intact.
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