HARRISBURG — Bishop Joseph McFadden was laid to rest Wednesday in Harrisburg.
Bishop McFadden had served as the bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg since August of 2010. He died last week in Philadelphia at the age of 65.
With tears in their eyes, the faithful said a final farewell to the leader of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Joseph McFadden.
“We’re devastated. Everyone is devastated to lose him,” said Mary Teresa Ryniak of Mount Carmel.
The mass at Holy Name of Jesus Church near Harrisburg was standing room only. More than 1,600 people paid their respects to Bishop McFadden at his funeral mass, including Bishop Joseph Bambera and Bishop Emeritus James Timlin of the Diocese of Scranton. Priests from parishes in central Pennsylvania also attended.
“To see all of the bishops, the cardinal, all of the priests, the archbishop from Philadelphia, it’s an overwhelming outpouring of love,” said Father John Szada of Divine Redeemer Church.
The Diocese of Harrisburg includes Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union Counties. Many parishioners from those counties came to say goodbye to Bishop McFadden.
“I just remember him as being very personable. He wanted to meet everyone personally, know your first name, last name, what you did with the parish,” said Mary Kay Bartol of Kulpmont.
Some people from Northumberland County say Bishop McFadden came to our area often and always had a smile on his face and kind words.
“If you didn’t meet him while he was here in the three years, there was something wrong because everyone knew him and loved him,” Ryniak added.
Colleagues say Bishop McFadden was known for saying, “pray for me as I pray for you.”
“Even though he has died, Bishop McFadden still lives, and every one of us who lives and believes in Jesus Christ will, like Bishop McFadden, never die,” said Bishop John Barres of the Diocese of Allentown in his homily.
Following the funeral service, Bishop McFadden will be buried in the Bishop’s Circle At Holy Cross Cemetery.
Father Robert Gillelan was elected to serve as diocesan administrator until Pope Francis appoints a new bishop for the Diocese of Harrisburg.