OGDENSBURG — Just days after his fifth anniversary as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, the Rev. Paul S. Loverde is moving on.
Pope John Paul II has appointed him bishop of Arlington Diocese in Virginia.
"He did a lot in a short time," said Monsignor Dennis Duprey, pastor of Notre Dame Church in Malone and head of the Franklin Deanery.
Loverde's leadership has been dished out "with a spark, a bit of shaking up," Duprey said, "challenging us to do things a little different way."
The Diocese of Arlington has just 62 parishes compared to 122 here, but its membership is 340,000, which is 200,000 more than the Diocese of Ogdensburg.
Loverde follows the late Rev. John R. Keating, who died suddenly in Rome 10 months ago.
" ... We are honored and proud that our Holy Father has recognized Bishop Loverde's accomplishments and abilities and has chosen him to lead the large and fast-growing Diocese of Arlington," Monsignor Robert L. Lawlor, Ogdensburg diocese vicar general, said in a statement.
Loverde, who participated in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Friday, flew back to Arlington Monday for a news conference on his appointment.
From there, he goes to St. Louis, Mo., for Pope John Paul II's visit later this week.
"He was everywhere (as bishop of Ogdensburg)," said Duprey. "He was interested in every aspect of the church."
Monday, Ed and Louise Mazuchowski reeled from the news.
As co-directors of the Family Life Department of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, the Cadyville couple worked closely with the bishop on many occasions.
"When he interviewed us for the job, he took two hours with us," Mrs. Mazuchowski said.
"He was very easy to talk to, very supportive."
Mr. Mazuchowski said the people of the parish warmed to Loverde quickly because of the interest the man showed in them.
"He never forgets your name and always has a comment of a personal nature — he remembers those things and makes you feel important," he said.
"We're devastated to be losing him," Mrs. Mazuchowski said. "(But) it's a real blessing to wherever he will be."
In a written statement, Loverde said: "It is not easy to leave the Diocese of Ogdensburg. For five years, I have experienced the deep faith and loving collaboration of the priests, deacons, religious and laity ..."
Loverde's tenure in the North Country was marked by an active and varied ministry.
He promoted vocations — in part, with Project Andrew dinners for high-school students at his home.
At the national level, he chaired the Vocations Committee of the Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Duprey, who served as director of priests and pastoral personnel for three years, said Loverde has been devoted to his priests here.
The first time the two met, in fact, Loverde took Duprey aside.
"He told me, 'I want you to remember one thing. Whenever priests need communication with me, day or night, I'm available.'
"He was always true to that," Duprey said.
The Rev. Roger McGuinness, pastor of the John XXIII College Community Center in Plattsburgh, said the bishop helped shift the focus of his parish to the college community.
"It was a big change, and I had (Loverde's) wholehearted support for that," McGuinness said.
"He's been a very strong advocate for the unborn," said the Rev. Terry LaValley, diocesan chancellor.
The bishop espoused the new evangelization, too, promoting the Disciples in Mission Program.
Loverde remains administrator of the Diocese of Ogdensburg until his installation in Arlington. LaValley said that if a new bishop is not appointed by then, a temporary administrator will be named.
"We're sorry to see him go," said LaValley, "but we wish him God's blessings — and we're happy for the faithful in Arlington."