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 CNS Story:

LEVADA-MASS Aug-8-2005 (560 words) xxxn

Archbishop prepares to leave San Francisco, is served with subpoena

By Catholic News Service

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- More than 3,000 people gathered at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco Aug. 7 to bid farewell to Archbishop William J. Levada as he prepared to start a new chapter in his life as the highest-ranking U.S. official at the Vatican.

The 68-year-old archbishop, named in May by Pope Benedict XVI as head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the crowd at the cathedral that his 10 years as archbishop of San Francisco had been "a significant part of my life as a man, a priest and a bishop."

He said he measured his success by asking "if in these days I have helped God's people as their shepherd here in the archdiocese to grow closer to the Lord. ... Only God knows the answer to this question."

"I firmly believe that what I have experienced in my ministry among God's people here in the Archdiocese of San Francisco has been a great grace for me, and has enriched me for the new service to the universal church to which our Holy Father Pope Benedict has called me now," Archbishop Levada added.

Concelebrating the Aug. 7 Mass were retired Archbishop John R. Quinn of San Francisco, newly ordained Bishop Clarence "Larry" Silva of Honolulu and San Francisco Auxiliary Bishops John C. Wester and Ignatius C. Wang.

Shortly before the Mass, Archbishop Levada was served with a subpoena ordering him to be deposed in relation to clergy sex abuse lawsuits filed by some 250 plaintiffs against the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., which the archbishop headed from 1986 to 1995.

Maurice Healy, director of communications and outreach for the San Francisco Archdiocese, confirmed Aug. 8 that the subpoena had been served in the cathedral sacristy before the Mass, but he criticized the timing of the move.

He said the archbishop, who "walks to work" and is a "very public person," could have been served with the subpoena on several other, less public occasions.

Healy said remarks made by several plaintiffs' attorneys in Portland following the Vatican announcement of Archbishop Levada's new post had convinced him that the lawyers wanted to "seize the opportunity created by his appointment to embarrass the church."

The Los Angeles Times reported that Cookie Gambucci, who served the subpoena, said she told the archbishop she would serve it to him on the altar if he did not accept it before the Mass. Gambucci said Archbishop Levada accepted the subpoena but told her, "This is a disgrace to the church."

Healy said the archbishop was misquoted and had said not to Gambucci but to an aide, "This is a disgrace to the legal profession."

Archbishop John G. Vlazny, current head of the Portland Archdiocese, announced in July 2004 that the archdiocese was filing for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Archbishop Levada was scheduled to leave for Rome Aug. 17, four days after a farewell gala at the Marriott Hotel in downtown San Francisco. Among those scheduled to attend the gala were representatives of local parishes, members of the clergy, Catholic lay leaders, interfaith religious leaders, civic and community leaders and other guests.

Bishop Wester will serve as apostolic administrator of the San Francisco Archdiocese after Archbishop Levada's departure until a new archbishop is named.


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