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Pope names Bishop Daly to Spokane diocese

March 20, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

Pope Francis appointed native San Franciscan, San Jose Auxiliary Bishop Thomas A. Daly as the seventh Bishop of Spokane, Washington, March 12. He will be installed May 20, joining a long line of bishops who began their priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

The appointment comes just over a week after the announcement that San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. McElroy would head south as ordinary of the Diocese of San Diego. Bishop Daly has served as auxiliary bishop of San Jose, California, since 2011.

At the press conference at Bishop White Seminary in Spokane March 12, Bishop Daly described himself as a person of hope, which he defined as “reality grounded in faith.”

“It’s not easy to be a believer” sometimes, he said, but reminded those present of Jesus’ promise to be with his people until the end of the age. “We have to be humble, but also a church of joy,” said Bishop Daly. “Jesus is risen from the dead!”

The church must also “teach the truth with pastoral charity, and compassion always,” but without compromising that truth, he said.

Bishop Daly succeeds Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, who was appointed archbishop of Chicago last Sept. 20.

The Diocese of Spokane comprises 24,356 square miles in eastern Washington state and has a total population of 830,641 people, of whom 107,983, or 13 percent, are Catholic. Jesuit Gonzaga University, a popular college choice of San Francisco archdiocesan Catholics, is situated in Spokane, and Bishop Daly said he is a fan of Gonzaga’s basketball team.

The apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, is scheduled to be present for Bishop Daly’s installation.

Bishop Daly was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1987. He served as president of Marin Catholic High School from 2003-2011 and vocations director for the Archdiocese of San Francisco under Archbishop George Niederauer and Cardinal William J. Levada 2002-2001. As auxiliary in San Jose, he also was appointed interim rector of St. Patrick Seminary & University.

Bishop Daly earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco in 1982, a master of divinity from St. Patrick’s in 1987 and a master of education degree from Boston College in 1996. After ordination, he served as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Loretto Parish, 1987-1992; teacher and campus minister, Marin Catholic, 1992-2003; part-time chaplain, San Francisco Police Department, 1995-2003; and parochial vicar, St. Cecilia Parish, 1995-1999. He attended Sacred Heart High School, now Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, graduating in 1978.

With the appointment, Bishop Daly, 54, becomes the latest bishop ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of San Francisco to be appointed to head a Western United States diocese.

In addition to Bishop Daly and Bishop McElroy, the ordinaries of Western dioceses who were ordained priests in the Archdiocese of San Francisco are Salt Lake City Bishop John Wester, Monterey Bishop Richard Garcia; Reno, Nevada Bishop Randolph Roque Calvo; and San Jose Bishop Patrick Joseph McGrath.

Retired bishops who were ordained priests in the archdiocese include Bishop Daniel Walsh, formerly bishop of Santa Rosa and of Las Vegas, now in residence in his home parish of St. Anne of the Sunset; Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, SJ, formerly bishop of Yakima, Washington; Bishop John Cummins, retired bishop of Oakland; and Bishop Francis Quinn, who was bishop of Sacramento from 1979 to 1993.

Currently serving San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice grew up in San Mateo and was ordained a priest in the archdiocese in 1968. He was appointed auxiliary bishop in 2008.

Deceased ordinaries who were ordained priests in the Archdiocese of San Francisco include the first archbishop and fifth bishop of Seattle, Thomas Arthur Connolly, who served as Seattle’s ordinary 1950-1975,and died in 1991; Bishop Hugh Aloysius Donohoe, a labor activist who attended all four sessions of Vatican II and served as bishop of Stockton from 1962-1969 and of Fresno from 1969-1980, and died in 1987; Bishop Merlin Joseph Guilfoyle, co-founder of the St. Thomas More Society, who served as an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco from 1950-1969 and bishop of Stockton from 1969-1979, dying in 1981.

Eric Meisfjord of the Diocese of Spokane contributed.

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