Bishop Sylvester Treinen, the retired spiritual leader of Idaho's Roman Catholics, has celebrated with the Boise Diocese his 50th year as a priest.
Treinen, 78, and 650 people came to the celebration on June 7 at St. John's Cathedral in Boise.Among them were 13 bishops and four archbishops from as far away as Los Angeles and Portland, plus priests from all over Idaho.
They came for his golden jubilee because of the respect they have for him, said Deacon James Bowen, chancellor of the Boise Diocese.
"And it's so unusual to have a 50th anniversary," Bowen said.
Treinen was ordained June 11, 1946, in Bismark, N.D. He was appointed bishop by Pope John XXIII in 1962, a month after Father Paul Wander, of St. Anthony, Idaho, was born.
Wander said he became a priest partly because of Treinen's influence.
"God worked through him to touch lives, and he touched my life," he said.
Treinen retired in 1988, after 27 years of shepherding his flock through the modernization brought by the Second Vatican Council and the turmoil over church doctrine.
He is one of the few surviving participants of the council, which spanned from 1962 to 1965.
His accomplishments in Idaho include establishing a program for permanent deacons, an office of Hispanic ministry and Catholic student centers at Idaho's state universities.
The number of Idaho Catholics increased from 45,000 to 75,000 while he was bishop. They now number 115,000, a membership exceeded in the state only by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Treinen still helps out in parishes on the weekends, and takes time for fishing.
"After 50 years of fishing for men, he's now fishing for fish," Bowen said.