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RELIGION

Retired Rochester Diocese bishop dies at 85

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Bishop

Retired Bishop Matthew Clark gives a blessing during Mass Sept. 22, 2012, at St. Alphonsus Church in Auburn. It was Clark's first day of retirement.

Retired Bishop Matthew H. Clark, who oversaw the Catholic Diocese of Rochester for more than three decades, died Sunday at the age of 85.

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano announced the news Sunday morning, saying Clark passed away after a period of declining health. He died in his room at the Sisters of Saint Joseph Motherhouse in the Rochester area.

Clark served as the diocese bishop from 1979, when he was ordained for that role by Pope St. John Paul II, until he retired in September 2012. He celebrated a Mass in Auburn on his first official day of retirement on Sept. 22 at St. Alphonsus Church.

"This is the first day of my provincial retirement," Clark said, drawing applause. "I am footloose and fancy free."

Clark was ordained a priest in 1962 in Rome by Archbishop Martin John O’Connor, for the Diocese of Albany. He became the eighth bishop of Rochester.

"United as a diocesan family, we now accompany Bishop Clark with our prayers, especially at Holy Mass, asking the angels and the saints to receive his soul and present him to the Eternal High Priest, Our Savior Jesus Christ," Matano wrote in his message. "Kindly also pray for Bishop Clark’s family and friends who mourn his death and pray for him; may they be consoled by our faith in eternal life – a kingdom of light and peace where we will behold the face of God."

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