By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
— DANVILLE — Bishop Joseph McFadden, who died suddenly Thursday morning, visited St. Joseph Catholic Church for sacramental confirmation just last week.
“It’s a sad time. He was here a week ago, he looked very well,” said Ronald Valania, principal of St. Joseph Catholic School. “It’s sudden and very much a surprise.”
McFadden attended the confirmation on April 22. He regularly oversaw confirmations at St. Joseph since he was named bishop of Harrisburg in 2010.
“He was very happy with us and the church we have,” said Tri Luong, pastor of the church. McFadden usually visited at least once a year and was on hand to bless the church last August. St. Joseph is saddened to hear of his loss, said Luong, who praised McFadden as a kind and experienced church leader.
It’s hard to imagine that McFadden “could be gone in the blink of an eye,” said Valania.
McFadden had been attending a meeting of the Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia when he died. While staying at a Philadelphia rectory, he awoke Thursday feeling ill, according to information released on the Harrisburg diocese’s website. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at approximately 7:40 a.m. A cause of death has not yet been released.
McFadden was born in Philadelphia on May 22, 1947. He was named the tenth bishop of Harrisburg by Pope Benedict XVI on June 22, 2010.