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Bishop John Wester Bids Farewell to Utah

Brian Grimmett

Roman Catholic Bishop John C. Wester of the Diocese of Salt Lake City will soon be moving on to become the Archbishop of Santa Fe. Before he leaves, Wester explained how his time in Salt Lake City has had an impact on his ministry.

Bishop Wester has led Utah’s Catholics since March of 2007. During that time he’s championed several social justice issues, including playing a prominent role in Utah’s recent debate on immigration reform. And while his work in those areas is how many Utahns will remember him, Wester says he’ll remember Utah as a place full of loving people and devoted Catholics.

“I just felt very welcomed and I’ve always felt that," he says. "No matter where I’ve gone, no matter what the venue, no matter what the situation, there’s always been a sense of coming together. And I think that’s really special.”

Once Wester is installed as Archbishop of Santa Fe in June, the seven Diocesan Consultors will elect a priest to administer the Diocese of Salt Lake City until Pope Francis appoints a new bishop. That process could take several months. In the meantime, Wester had this bit of advice for whomever the pope selects.

“My advice, and my advice to myself, is to listen, to see what’s going on, to see how the Holy Spirit is moving in his church, and then to facilitate," he says. "Remember, Pope Francis said very beautifully, that you have to lead in front of the sheep, but also among the sheep and behind the sheep.”

To honor Bishop Wester, the Cathedral of the Madeleine will celebrate a mass on Sunday May 31st at 11 a.m. followed by a reception. There will also be a public reception at the Little America hotel that same evening from 5 to 8 p.m. 

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