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The final stretch for Bishop Hubbard

April 3, 2011

by Adam Clark

The chief executive officer of one of the biggest institution’s in the Pine Hills celebrated his 34th year as Albany’s Bishop in February. Most Rev. Bishop Howard Hubbard, during his last three years as bishop, plans to reach out in encouragement to roughly 1.2 million people in the Albany Dioceses.

View of Roman Catholic Diocese from North Main Avenue (Adam Clark)

Hubbard’s three-year plan will last until his required resignation on Oct. 31, 2013.  In the coming years, the diocese will celebrate with themes of God’s love, person of Christ, and movement of Spirit in our lives. Hubbard also aims to concentrate on the day to day responsibilities of the Diocese.

Over the years as the Bishop, Hubbard has been sticking to his motto, “Rejoice, we are God’s people.” He has seen an increase in layperson taking more responsibilities within the Roman Catholic community. “While we have fewer priests today then we had 50 years ago, probably have as much or more ministry taking place because of the lay people out and coming forward and assuming their rightful role as full members of church and becoming ministries in church” After serving in the priesthood for 47 years, Hubbard sees this as a very positive change.

Hubbard said one of his biggest challenges under his leadership has been creating mechanisms and insurances that sexual misconduct in diocesan parishes “will never happen again.”

The Diocese occupies almost an entire block within the Pine Hills community on North Main Avenue. Its programs serve needs connected to  homelessness, pregnancy,  HIV and  AIDS,  children and parenting.

Although the responsibilities Hubbard has as a Bishop are immense, his primary focus is on being out with the people, which he enjoys the most. Hubbard oversees 10 different Pastoral Departments, is responsible for nearly 140 Parishes within the 14 counties that account for the Albany Diocese. There are roughly 1.2 million people within those parameters. Hubbard attends many local and national meetings as well as serving on multiple boards, as well as attending functions held within the Diocese such as special events and all confirmations.

“Certainly there are many things that I admire about Bishop Hubbard, but particularly his commitment to justice and the poor” says Sister Jane Herb, diocesan superintendent of schools.

Hubbard was born and raised in Troy, where he attended school for the first four years. He then proceeded to Saint

View of Roman Catholic Diocese from North Main Street (Adam Clark)

Patricks Academy, and graduated in 1952. From 1952 to 1956 Hubbard attended LaSalle Institute in Troy, and then studied philosophy at Mater Christi seminary in 1956.

After seminary Hubbard went to North American College in Rome, and attended Gregorian University and received a master’s degree in theology. He was a student during the first two years of the second Vatican council and was ordained in Rome in 1963.

Throughout his upbringing Hubbard considered one of three paths to pursue after graduation. He considered  journalism, and wrote for his high school newspaper.He also thought about following in his uncle’s footsteps as a lawyer. Lastly Hubbard thought about the priests in his life. He saw the good  those people brought to the children and families.

Hubbard was ordained as the ninth Bishop in the Albany Diocese after his initial 13 years in ministry working in the inner-most city of Albany. At the age of 38 he was the youngest Bishop at the time, a great surprise to him.

Bishop Howard Hubbard posing in his office at the Albany Diocese, North Main Street (Adam Clark)

He is the proud founder of Providence House which still stands today, reaching out to the African American community where it’s located assisting with needs including housing, tutorial programs, and after school programs. Hubbard has also been successful in founding Hope House, as a treatment facility working with people struggling over drug addictions.

“He’s a person very dedicated to community and has been throughout his priesthood” said Rev. Kenneth J. Doyle, pastor of  Mater Christi in Albany. Hubbard, he said, is “one of the most humane and compassionate people I know.”

In his free time, Hubbard enjoys reading novels, particularly in the historical genre. Hubbard also is an avid reader of the New York Times, and well as Times Union, daily, as well as three periodicals every week. He is an avid Siena fan and has season tickets to their games. He also enjoys the Mets and Red Sox.

Hubbard has brought an immense impact throughout the years as Bishop. He doesn’t know his plans for after retirement at the current time but does see himself living somewhere in the diocese. The process of picking a successor for Hubbard will start once his resignation letter is submitted in 2013. Then, a consultation takes place with select bishops, priests, and deacons to name a successor.

“He’s a man of great integrity, always the first thing that comes to mind, his word really is his bond. Not two persons, what you see is what you get,” said Rev. Frank Farano, vicar of general affairs. -30-


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