NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY — Newswatch 16 spoke to Catholics in central Pennsylvania who are sad and shocked at the news of the death of Bishop Joseph McFadden.
Bishop McFadden died unexpectedly Thursday morning while attending a meeting with other bishops in Philadelphia. He woke up feeling ill and was taken to a hospital where he died.
“It is with deep sadness and shock that we announce this morning the death of Bishop Joseph McFadden,” said diocese spokesman Joseph Aponick at a news conference in Dauphin County.
“Sadly, for whatever reason, God chose to call him back now, and we don’t know why,” said Deacon Martin McCarthy at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School.
He headed the diocese that includes Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union counties. It was just back in December when the bishop spoke at the school, and presented a check. He was scheduled to speak at the Catholic school’s graduation later this month.
“We’ve known him all year and we’ve had video chats with him. He’s talked to us about moving on to college, so we know him pretty well,” said senior Nicole Komara.
“He made everyone feel like they were an individual and they had a special place in the church,” said senior John Fitzpatrick.
Bishop McFadden was just at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Danville last week. Parishioners said they are shocked by the news because they just saw him. They remember him fondly.
“He’s very personable. He likes to talk to the kids. He gets down to their level and jokes with them,” recalled Roseann Quick of Danville.
The Diocese of Harrisburg has not said how Bishop Joseph McFadden died. The diocese has eight days to elect an administrator until Pope Francis appoints a new bishop.
Funeral arrangements were announced Thursday afternoon. They are listed here.
Bishop Joseph McFadden was 65 years old.