Last Friday, James Niedergeses, the retired Roman Catholic bishop of Nashville, died at the age of 90. Bishop Niedergeses was a genuinely kind, wise, loving, pastoral bishop. (Rare enough!) My favorite memory of him is a class he gave for eucharistic ministers, years ago. Inevitably, questions arose about who could receive communion, and what to do if someone who should not receive (according to the rules) comes up in the line. The bishop told a story about a day when a homeless man from West End Avenue came into church during mass, and headed up front for communion. Niedergeses asked him, “Son, are you Catholic?” The homeless man looked the bishop in the eye and asked, “Are you?” The bishop said he never questioned anyone again.
May Bishop Niedergeses pray for us from his place within the Great Life.