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Harrisburg Diocese announces death of Bishop McFadden - abc27 WHTM

Harrisburg Diocese announces death of Bishop McFadden

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Courtesy: Diocese of Harrisburg Courtesy: Diocese of Harrisburg
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, the leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, has died unexpectedly in Philadelphia.

The Diocese announced Thursday morning that Bishop McFadden died while attending a meeting of the Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania.

McFadden, 65, was staying at a rectory and awoke feeling ill. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 7:40 a.m., according to the Diocese.

The cause of his death has not been announced. Diocese spokesman Joe Aponick said McFadden was involved in wellness programs and followed a healthy diet.

"We know of no health conditions that brought this about," Aponick said during a news conference. "He was a very active man."

Bishop McFadden was the tenth Bishop of Harrisburg. He was appointed June 22, 2010 by then Pope Benedict XVI. He was installed as Bishop of Harrisburg on August 18, 2010 in St. Patrick Cathedral, Harrisburg.

"He was with us for so short a time," Aponick said, clearly shaken as he spoke. "He enjoyed being here very much. He loved the Diocese and the people of the Diocese very much loved him."

Aponick said that McFadden had a passion for Catholic schools and Catholic education, and was very proud of the new Bishop McDevitt High School.

He also remembered McFadden as a leader who embraced technology.

"He had a Facebook page that actually had over 5,000 Likes," he said. "He also had a Twitter page which he just recently started to use. He embraced any way to reach out and spread the faith."

Leadership of the diocese has passed to the College of Consultors, which will have eight days to elect an administrator to be in charge of day-to-day operations until a new bishop is appointed by Pope Francis.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, who served as Bishop of Harrisburg from 2004 to 2009 before his appointment as Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, said he was shocked to learn of McFadden's death because he always appeared to be in good health.

"It is still sinking in. He was a really good and gentle shepherd. He was always gracious to me and a wonderful brother bishop," Rhoades said in the statement. "He was dedicated to serving the people of Harrisburg. He was very happy in Harrisburg. The people of Harrisburg and especially McFadden are in my prayers."

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