Retired Bishop Donald E. Pelotte is preparing to move out of his Gallup residence this week and will be movingtemporarily to his condo in Florida, six months after his resignation as bishop, the Diocese of Gallup told the Gallup Independent on Monday.
"He indicated to us that for now, he is moving to his condo in Florida," diocesan communications director Lee Lamb said of Pelotte in an e-mail to the Independent. "However, Bishop Pelotte does not anticipate living in Florida full-time."
The Independent had asked Lamb whether Pelotte was returning to his Lauderdale-By-The-Sea condominium in Florida, moving in with his twin brother who is also a Catholic priest in Texas, or planning to return to his religious congregation, the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.
Lamb said he had no knowledge of a rumored order by the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, D.C., that Pelotte move out of his Gallup residence and leave Gallup, which the Independent said it learned from sources in the diocese.
"To my understanding, conversations between the papal nuncio and any bishop are usually held in confidence," Lamb told the paper. "I don't know that any contact between Bishop Pelotte and the nuncio has happened recently."
The Independent also reported widespread belief that Pelotte's moving from the Gallup residence indicates that a new bishop will be named.
Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted has been acting as apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Gallup since January.
"Deacon Timoteo Lujan informed me today that, when Bishop Pelotte is out of the house in the next week or so, the diocese will begin to prepare the house for the next bishop," Lamb told the Independent on Monday.
But any decision on the use of the house will be up to the next bishop, Lamb told the paper.
"He could, like Bishop Olmsted does in Phoenix, decide to live in the rectory," said Lamb, who added: "This is all more than tentative and speculative at this point in the process of the Pope naming a bishop to our diocese."
Lamb said the process of naming a new bishop usually takes six months to a year, but could be delayed in Gallup's case because there are other vacant dioceses in the country, the Independent said.
Meanwhile, the paper reported, Lamb confirmed that Olmsted had appointed the Rev. Thomas Maikowski to become administrator of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Page, Ariz.
Maikowski, former director of education and former principal at St. Francis Elementary School in Gallup, has been a controversial figure among local Catholics and fellow priests, the Independent said.
He was involved in some high-profile incidents over his connection to Derek Kolb, a former seminary student from the Archdiocese of Denver who later was accused of trying to poison the elderly former cloistered nun Margaret Mary Liebst while all three lived, worked and traveled together, the paper reported.
When the scandal broke in 2004, Maikowski resigned from his positions in the diocese and began working as a military chaplain at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, the Independent said.
"I haven't seen any information that would tell us to expect the appointment of a bishop any time soon," Lamb told the paper.