Chancellor Kevin Phelan retires, prompts changes in chancery Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Sep. 03, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
Kevin Phelan
Kevin Phelan Eric Schiedermayer William Yallaly

MADISON -- Effective August 28, Kevin Phelan retired as chancellor of the Diocese of Madison, a position he has held since 2004.

Before he came to Madison, Phelan served as chancellor of the Diocese of Helena, Mont., for two years. In both dioceses he served as the sexual abuse victim assistance coordinator.

While thanking Phelan for his “faithful lay service,” Bishop Robert C. Morlino said “his departure both necessitates and allows for other changes at the diocesan level.”

The bishop said, “In order to address some of our current needs, as well as to bring our office in closer alignment with the curial structure provided in the Code of Canon Law, two major changes will take place at this time”:

• Eric Schiedermayer will remain vice chancellor of the diocese but will assume the bulk of those responsibilities borne by Phelan which went beyond the typical duties of a chancellor. Schiedermayer will assume the title of director of the diocesan curia, providing day-to-day management of diocesan staff and operations of the diocesan offices and assisting the bishop in his executive and administrative duties.

• William Yallaly, who had been serving as executive advisor to the bishop, will assume the office of chancellor of the diocese. He will fulfill the canonical responsibilities of the office, acting as chief notary of the diocesan curia.

Comments on Phelan

Bishop Morlino offered the following comments on Phelan’s retirement, “Kevin’s unselfish service to the Church for over 13 years and his long-term friendship with myself are gifts for which it is impossible to say an adequate word of thanks.

“How often he has come to the assistance of priests who have found themselves in various difficulties in their parishes, which have occurred over the past 13 years.“How often he has served as advocate for victims, who felt that their lives had been destroyed and had no place else to turn. How often his communication with past victims of abuse has brought them closer to the Church and the Lord,” said Bishop Morlino of Phelan.

“How carefully he has attended to chancery staff matters and helped me guide us, in accord with our mission. I cannot express any adequate thanks.”

Bishop Morlino noted that Phelan’s service to the Church came as a “second career” after he “worked very successfully in the corporate world” and took an “early retirement” to work in the Church.

The bishop said he drafted Phelan (and, by extension, his wife, Mimi) “to leave their lives on the East Coast and come to work for me, first in the Diocese of Helena, then here in Madison.”

The bishop explained that especially with increased care needs of Mimi’s mother, “the time has come for Kevin and Mimi to return to Boston.”

Phelan’s mother-in-law, Madeline, has recovered from two broken hips. His wife, Mimi, twice cared for Bishop Morlino in their home during serious illness and recovery. Now she wants to ensure that her mother’s final years are filled with family, faith, and love. The Phelans plan to move to the Boston area to be with her.

Bishop Morlino added, “There could hardly be a better example of passion and diligence in faithful lay service than that which Kevin provides, and there is no doubt that he will be missed.”

Vicar general’s comments

Msgr. James Bartylla, vicar general of the Diocese of Madison, also commented on Phelan’s retirement, “It is a bittersweet moment for me personally as well as for Bishop Morlino, his staff, and the entire Diocese of Madison. I’m so happy that Kevin and Mimi Phelan will be able to assist Mimi’s mother and once again give a wonderful witness to Christian charity within the family.

“However, it comes at a cost since we’ll lose Kevin’s committed and faithful service as chancellor of the Diocese of Madison. In the last six years, as I’ve served as vicar general, Kevin and I’ve worked very closely together and collaborated in so many ways in serving Bishop Morlino.

“I’ve personally learned much from Kevin, based on his business and managerial experience, and he deserves a hearty thank you and best wishes for the future. So many of the initiatives of the diocese in recent years are based on Kevin’s skill and his service to Bishop Morlino, and thus he leaves a great example of faithful lay leadership in the Church for others to emulate.”

Pope Benedict XVI named Phelan a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 2012.

Eric Schiedermayer

In assuming the position of director of the diocesan curia, Bishop Morlino pointed out that Eric Schiedermayer “will bring to this role a tremendous wealth of experience and his own unique skills which will allow the diocesan chancery not only to continue without missing a beat from Kevin’s leadership, but will hopefully allow us to develop and improve as well.”

Prior to coming to the Diocese of Madison, Schiedermayer served as executive director of the Montana Catholic Conference and director of communications for the Diocese of Helena. He had been involved in youth ministry and catechesis at the parish and diocesan levels.

He came to Madison as executive secretary of the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis in 2005. In 2011, he was name vice chancellor and director of the diocesan Office of Planning.

Pope Benedict XVI named him a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 2012.

Schiedermayer and his wife, Koena, have eight living children, one deceased child, and five grandchildren. They are members of the Cathedral Parish in Madison.

William Yallaly

As chancellor of the Diocese of Madison, William Yallaly will serve as a liaison for the bishop to various entities in the diocese, serving as the bishop’s representative on various committees, boards, and councils within the diocese. Yallaly will work closely with Bishop Morlino, Monsignor Bartylla, and Schiedermayer in support of diocesan executive, theological, and catechetical functions.

Yallaly came to the Diocese of Madison in 2007, when he was appointed assistant to the bishop and associate director of communications. He has since been serving as executive advisor to the bishop.

He recently earned a Master of Science degree in Church Management from Villanova School of Business.

Pope Francis named Yallaly a Knight of Pope St. Sylvester this year.

Yallaly and his wife, Bridget, have three children and are members of St. Christopher Parish in Verona.