Bishop Clark Holds Public Mass
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Listening to Bishop Clark's words, as they have many times before, church goers say they feel at peace, replenished.
"Whenever you see him, he always takes the time to greet everybody and he really shows Christ's love, an incredible example of what it means to be a Christian," says Bibianna Silvera Bortacio.
Clark submitted his resignation to the Vatican in July upon his 75th birthday, which Church law requires.
"I am officially retired, the formal title is Emeritus, which suggests that while I'm retired, I'm not inactive," says Matthew Clark, Bishop Emeritus.
While this certainly isn't goodbye, since Clark says he will remain in the area and active in local ministry, it was an opportunity to say 'thank you.'
"I wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. He's made a big difference in my life," says Bortacio.
After serving in the Catholic Church for fifty years, thirty three as bishop of Rochester, many have come to know him on a personal level. One woman asked for his autograph, others simply refer to him as Matt, having known him during high school days.
"Very smart, wonderful athlete, everyone's friend. I always say to Matt, Bishop Clark, in high school I beat him in our grade point average by five hundredths of a point. I say that's for your humility bishop," says Clark's high school classmate Robert Heslin.
Bishop Robert Cunningham of the Syracuse Diocese assumed the role of interim Bishop of Rochester, until Clark's permanent successor is named.
"That process often takes many months. It's hard to predict when that will happen," says Clark.
Clark says he is enjoying retirement and remains in awe at how far he has come in his spiritual journey.
"Especially when I'm at an occasion like this, I can't believe all these years have gone by, life in that way is a mystery and I enjoy the extra leisure to think about it and connect the dots," says Clark.
Clark and the community are welcoming what they agree will be a profound change in the church.