Dignitaries, religious leaders and hundreds of other well-wishers attended a reception Sunday night in honor of The Most Rev. William K. Weigand's 10th
anniversary as bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City."These have been 10 very good years for me," Bishop Weigand said at the conclusion of the celebration at a downtown Salt Lake hotel. "We have seen good things happen in our diocese."
During the past decade, the diocese has developed new ministries for ethnic groups, established three new parishes in the Salt Lake Valley and new missions in rural Utah, restored the Cathedral of the Madeleine, created programs for the homeless and opened the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen.
Political and religious leaders who spoke at the event said Bishop Weigand deserves much of the credit for those achievements.
President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called the bishop a "man for all seasons, a man who loves his God."
Recalling the dedication of the soup kitchen, President Monson said, "Clearly, it was one of the happiest days for Bishop Weigand in Salt Lake City."
President Monson and others noted that religious organizations in Utah have achieved a sense of cooperation and respect that has produced a number of worthy programs for the community.
Bishop Weigand said he boasted of that partnership during last week's conference of U.S. bishops, quipping, "I made them jealous of our situation in Utah."
He said Utah religious leaders assist one another in an "ecumenical and peaceful way," and added, "We are very blessed, and I am blessed to be bishop of such a happy diocese."
Gov. Norm Bangerter, who had also attended the earlier celebratory Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, said Bishop Weigand has been a forthright and honorable steward of the church.
"He has always given me sound, solid advice, and he has a heart that reaches out to everyone" the governor said, adding, "I'm proud to have him as a friend."
Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis praised the bishop for his "pastoral sensitivity," especially for his service to the homeless and the hungry in the community. "He's been there supporting us," the mayor said.
He also congratulated the bishop for his efforts to restore the cathedral, which DePaulis called "a symbol of Catholicism in this state." Bishop Weigand "went out on the line" for the project, DePaulis said.
Among the guests at the event was Bishop Weigand's mother, Alice P. Kennedy, of Spokane.
Bishop Weigand, 53, was ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 1963, in St. Maries, Idaho. He was associate pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Lewiston, Idaho, 1963-64; chancellor and vice-officialis of the Diocese of Boise, 1964-68; pastor of the missionary parish of St. John the Baptist in Cali, Colombia, 1968-77; and pastor of St. Hubert's Parish, Homedale, Idaho, 1978-80.
He was appointed seventh bishop of the Salt Lake Diocese on Sept. 3, 1980, and ordained on Nov. 17, 1980.
"I'm not sure why we're celebrating 10 years," he said with a laugh Sunday night. "I'm staying. You may be stuck with me any number of years to come."