Bishop Matthew Clark, the retired bishop of Rochester, has been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Clark, now 82, was one of the longest-serving bishops in the world when he retired in 2012, having been appointed to the upstate New York diocese in 1979.

“We ask that the faithful pray for Bishop Clark and for all those who suffer with Alzheimer’s, for their caregivers and for all those medical professionals and organizations working to enhance care and treatment. Bishop Clark hopes to continue his ministry in the Diocese,” said a statement released by the diocese.

Earlier this year, Clark marked the 40th anniversary of his episcopal ordination. He was just 41 when named a bishop by Pope St. John Paul II.

“Over 40 years you have the privilege of (watching) generations come by,” Clark told the Catholic Courier in April. “When I meet people like that, I’m always curious … how their spiritual growth has been, what they’ve achieved.”

The diocesan newspaper said the retired bishop – a native of Albany – still enjoyed giving spiritual retreats.

“I love to do those,” he told the Courier. “It’s a time of grace and renewal for parishes, and I’m so pleased to be a part of it.”

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