Pueblo, Colo., Jun 13, 2013 / 06:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis announced on June 13 that he has accepted the early resignation of Bishop Fernando Isern of Pueblo, Colo., due to poor health and for the good of the local Church.
“In a spirit of prayerful reflection, the bishop recognized that his health may be an obstacle for the growth of the diocese,” a source within the Diocese of Pueblo told CNA.
“He chose to resign in order to entrust his flock to a man with the strength and energy necessary to be an effective shepherd.”
Bishop Isern was the fourth bishop of Pueblo, and has shepherded the diocese since December 2009. He is 54 years old.
Canon law “earnestly requests” that “a diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health” present early resignation from his office. The normal retirement age for bishops is 75.
Bishop Isern was born in 1958 in Havana, Cuba. The following year, communist forces under Fidel Castro seized control of the nation, and his family went into exile in 1963. They went first to Venezuela, and then settled in Miami in 1967.
Bishop Isern studied business at university, and later entered the seminary for the Miami archdiocese.
He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Miami in 1993, and served there as a pastor, chaplain, and high school president, until he was appointed bishop of Pueblo in 2009.
He was consecrated a bishop on Dec. 10 of that year by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who was archbishop of Denver at the time.
The Pueblo diocese was erected in 1941, and serves some 121,000 Catholics, who are about 18 percent of the population of the diocese.