Bishop Orris Walker, Jr. is taking a leave of absence from the Diocese of Long Island until November 14, the day his resignation takes effect, the Garden City, New York-based diocese announced. The leave started on June 1.
Walker appointed retired Bishop David Joslin as assisting bishop and has delegated to him all administrative and pastoral duties during the interim period. Joslin said in an interview that Walker is coping with health issues. Joslin added that he is looking forward to his work in Long Island. "It is a very, very exciting diocese with a wonderful social ministry and exciting things going on in its parishes," he said.
Walker, who has been bishop of the diocese since 1991, will be succeeded this fall by bishop-elect Lawrence Provenzano, who was elected bishop co-adjutor (bishop with right of succession) on March 21. Provenzano's service of consecration is scheduled to take place September 19.
Joslin is the former diocesan bishop of Central New York and has served as assisting bishop in the dioceses of New Jersey and Rhode Island. He lives in Westerly, Rhode Island, will be in the diocesan offices at least two days per week and also work online and by telephone, he said.
The diocese said that Walker will represent the Diocese of Long Island in the House of Bishops at General Convention (July 8-17 in Anaheim, California) to introduce Provenzano to the bishops. "Assuming the receipt of canonical consents to our election, [Walker] will be a co-consecrator at the ordination and consecration of Fr. Provenzano in September, and will preside at the diocesan convention in November until he bids the diocese farewell and turns authority over to the new bishop," the diocesan announcement said.
Matters requiring the assistance of the diocesan staff should continue to be referred to the appropriate deputy, staff person or the chancellor (legal advisor) who will report to Joslin, the diocese said. Joslin and Provenzano will be meeting with members of diocesan boards, departments of diocesan council, and the standing committee in the days ahead to continue preparing for the transition in November.The Diocese of Long Island comprises approximately 52,600 parishioners worshipping in 145 congregations.