Bishop John Ricard of the Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla. diocese, has submitted a request for early retirement to the Vatican for health reasons, according to a statement posted to the diocese's Web site.
NCR contributor Judy Gross, a resident of the Florida diocese, says in note this morning, that Ricard, 70, experienced a series of strokes beginning in December 2009, leaving him with impaired speech.
Ricard has led the diocese, spanning 18 North Florida counties for the past 14 years. He has also served as president of Catholic Relief Services, traveling to many war-torn countries and as chairman of the Office of International Justice and Peace (2002 to 2005) for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Vatican has yet to respond to Ricard's request.
Here's biography of Ricard.