Diocese selling bishop’s house

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown will sell the bishop’s residence in Frankstown Township, with some of the funds going to benefit victims in sexual abuses cases, according to a release from the diocese.

Bishop Mark L. Bartchak’s move has been planned for “some time,” according to the release. He will move into the rectory of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona, according to the release.

Tony DeGol, the diocese’s secretary for communications, said there have been talks to sell the residence for the past several months, but the plan really only gained steam in the past few weeks. He said a number of factors contributed to the decision, including Bartchak’s schedule, which keeps him away from home frequently.

“Anyone that knows him knows he’s a very simple man, and he doesn’t need to live in a house that large,” DeGol said. “It became clear to him that it’s become time for a change.”

DeGol said the move should be a positive one for the bishop, who has lived among priests before and looks forward to doing so again.

The move is expected to be completed by the end of the summer, according to the release. The funds from the sale of the residence will go toward “pastoral needs” in the Diocese, which includes the care of victims in sexual misconduct cases, according to the release.

DeGol said the use of the funds has not explicitly been decided at this time, as the home is being put on the market. He said it will be used, though, for “any project that warrants it.”