Catholics attending mass at St. Francis De Sales chapel in downtown Toledo reacted to the news that Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo has been appointed by Pope Francis to be the new archbishop of Hartford, Conn."I have known him since when he first came to the Diocese; he is most like our leader Jesus Christ because he ministers to all people," said Ray Burlan.
Bishop Blair has had his critics during the decade he has presided over the Diocese of Toledo. Barbara Blaine is president of SNAP, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests. She issued a statement on the organization's website that said in part:"Blairâ??s first job in Hartford should be to post the names, photos and whereabouts of every child molesting cleric on the archdiocesan website and in all parish bulletins. He should aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen suspected or suffered crimes or cover up by the 32 publicly accused, admitted and proven Hartford area predator priests and nuns."
Tom Weisenburger, who attends mass at St. Francis De Sales chapel several times a week, has been an ardent supporter of Bishop Blair from the time he became leader of the Diocese in 2003. "He came in and made a lot of tough decisions that were economically sound," Mr. Weisenburger said.
Bishop Blair will continue to preside over the Diocese of Toledo until he begins his service in Hartford which is scheduled to take place on Dec. 16. After Blair is installed in his new position, the Diocese of Toledoâ??s College of Consultors has eight days to elect a diocesan administrator. The administrator will run the diocese until a new bishop is named. There is no timetable to name Blair's successor. Blair was named bishop of Toledo eight months after his predecessor died.