The Vatican announced this morning that Bishop James Henry Garland of Marquette, Michigan, had resigned and that Msgr. Alexander King Sample, chancellor of the diocese (and only 45 years old) be appointed in his place.
This wasn’t the usual changing of the guard. Today happens to be Garland’s birthday, but only his 74th birthday. He wasn’t required to submit his resignation, under canon law, until next year. In fact, the Vatican announcement listed the reason for his resignation as “in conformity with Can. 401 para. 2,” which is the catch-all for “ill health or any grave reason.”
Garland said at a news conference that he asked to be able to resign early.
I asked the Holy Father to permit me to retire before 75, the normal retirement age for bishops, because I have become convinced in recent months that the priests and people of the diocese deserve a bishop who is younger and has more energy.”
Sample becomes the youngest bishop in the US.
Sample was born in Montana in 1960, and has received a Master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. He attended St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul (very interesting) and the Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, and was ordained in 1990. That’s quite the meteoric rise.
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