We mourn his death & celebrate his new life in Christ Jesus!

The Catholic Church of Wilmington, Delaware is mourning the death of it’s Bishop Emeritus, the Most Rev. Michael Salterelli on October 8. Bishop Saltarelli had been in declining health since his retirement last year. He had been living at Vianney House at Saint John the Beloved Parish outside of Wilmington.
During the past year, as a parishioner at Saint John’s it was very comforting to know that the Bishop Emeritus was living in our community of faith. On occasion, one would see the Bishop returning home after he was out and about for appointments and perhaps even a mid morning stroll around the parish campus.

Most significantly, Bishop Saltarelli’s retirement was marked with the onset of various medical conditions that ultimately caused his death. However, in remembering his priesthood and his episcopate is essential to the great reverence and deference all Catholics accord to their episcopal successors to the Apostles.

A few years back, I ran into Bishop Saltarelli at a local Italian bistro, Madelines, within the shadow of Saint Francis Hospital. He was accompanied by a couple of priests and was enjoying a relaxed and informal meal with his priest compatriots. If one did not know he was the Bishop of the diocese, he easily could have been mistaken as a parish priest. Perhaps , the Bishop’s greatest talent was making everyone comfortable in his company, and he enjoyed talking with just about anyone. That singular gift of conversation is one that most reminds me of Bishop Saltarelli. He loved his Church, his flock and most of all he loved his ministry.

We believe as Catholics that death is a transition to a new life with Christ Jesus. While it is completely acceptable to mourn the death of our Bishop Emeritus, we also celebrate his new life. Years ago, our catechism studies in grade school taught us that certain sacraments were character sacraments. They marked the soul with an indelible sign that would forever indicate the dignity of the priesthood and the episcopate. Bishop Saltarelli left a similar mark on the Delmarva diocese that he loved so much.

We celebrate his life, his priestly and episcopal ministry and his strong faithfulness to the Church, his diocese and the message of the Gospels. Prayerfully and respectfully we remember the Bishop that was always smiling, always shepherding and constantly guiding his flock to a new life in the Catholic Church.

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