Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki knows about transitions. He went from priest to auxiliary bishop to ordinary (bishop of a diocese) to archbishop in a matter of 10 years.
“Going from auxiliary to being an ordinary is a little like going from being an associate pastor to pastor. You bring your own gifts and talents,” the archbishop said about what Bishop Donald J. Hying will experience in becoming the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Gary on Jan. 6.
Having grown up in southeast Chicago – “I could jump on my bike and 15 minutes later be in Whiting, Indiana,” the archbishop said – he is familiar with the Gary Diocese.
“The size of the diocese (1,807 square miles) will be a benefit and a burden to him,” Archbishop Listecki said. “He’s going to be involved in everything.”
Archbishop Listecki is confident Bishop Hying will do well in leading his new diocese.
“I certainly wouldn’t try to script Bishop Hying going into Gary,” the archbishop said. “He’s a wise enough man to basically find his own way. He’ll know how to fill in those things that are necessary in order to make the whole organization better.”
Asked if he had any advice for the new ordinary, Archbishop Listecki did not hesitate.
“Never to lose his devotion to spirituality. Whether you’re bishop, priest or layperson, when you lose your connectedness to the Lord, you lose your sense of direction,” he said.
The archbishop continued, “Not to lose his sense of humor. He’ll need a sense of humor, especially when individuals will confront him with almost impossible situations.”
But it all starts with the bishop’s relationship with God.
“Realize that whatever is going to be accomplished, he doesn’t have to do it; the Lord will do it through him,” Archbishop Listecki said. “He can be who Bishop Hying is, and bring that quality of character and leadership to Gary.”