PORTLAND — The longtime spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has resigned her position just a few weeks after her boss, Bishop Richard Malone, was reassigned to another diocese.

Sue Bernard, who has been communications director for the diocese for more than a decade, accepted a position as director of development and college relations for Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle.

“Sue has served the Diocese of Portland admirably during some difficult times,” Malone said in a statement. “She has not only served as media spokesperson and the liaison between the bishop’s office and parishes, but she has also been an exemplary colleague, trusted adviser and was instrumental in implementing our written evangelization publication, Harvest Magazine.”
Bernard will officially leave in mid-August.

“It’s with mixed emotions that I leave Portland and all my wonderful, faith-filled colleagues. It has been both challenging and gratifying work and I’m leaving with a sense of satisfaction that a number of improvements have been made, especially under the leadership of Bishop Malone in terms of transparency with the public, safe environment for children, and the building of cooperation among the laity regarding necessary consolidations,” Bernard said. “At the same time, I’m very excited to be returning home and beginning work at the college. NMCC is a gem in the community college system that has proven to be an excellent place where students learn vital skills for today’s work place.”

She served as the voice of the diocese during a high-profile period, much of it marked by controversy, including the ongoing priest child sexual abuse scandal that spread from Massachusetts to Maine last decade and still continues. Prior to that, Bernard spent more than 20 years in broadcasting, most if it at WAGM TV8, the CBS affiliate in Presque Isle.

Bernard’s move comes less than a month after Bishop Malone was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the new bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. He will be installed there in August.

Malone, who led Maine’s diocese for eight years, will be temporarily replaced by an administrator but the search for his permanent successor is expected to take up to a year. The diocese will begin the search for a new communications director immediately.

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:
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Twitter: @PPHEricRussell