WASHINGTON (December 20, 2006)- -Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop William B. Friend of Shreveport, Louisiana.
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, made the announcement.
William Benedict Friend was born in Miami, FL, October 22, 1931. He studied at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg, MD, and at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. He was ordained a priest of the Mobile-Birmingham diocese on May 7, 1959.
Bishop Friend was appointed titular bishop of Pomaria and Auxiliary Bishop of Alexandria-Shreveport, August 29, 1979. He was named Bishop of Alexandria-Shreveport, November 23, 1982, and first bishop of Shreveport, June 16, 1986.
The Diocese of Shreveport is a physically large but demographically small, largely rural diocese covering the northern third of the state of Louisiana, in the middle of the Bible Belt. It has 41 priests, 21 Permanent Deacons, 27 Catholic parishes, and 14 missions serving a Catholic population of about 40,000 in a total population of 817,000.
The Shreveport diocese has no Catholic colleges or universities, but Bishop Friend is known as a strong proponent of adult education. In 1982 he established the Institute of Catholic Studies, later named the Greco Institute, to provide college-level, 18-hour courses in theology, Scripture, liturgy, morality and spirituality, through which the men and women of the Shreveport diocese have received training in faith formation and education.