Vallombrosa 300x100 12.2017

Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice retires

05 bp.justice.party PAGE05 bp.justice_ABC HALFAuxiliary Bishop William J. Justice is pictured with co-workers and with Archbishop Cordileone and vicar for administration Jesuit Father John Piderit at a chancery office reception Nov. 16. (Photos by Dennis Callahan/Catholic San Francisco)


December 7, 2017
Christina Gray
Catholic San Francisco

Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice has retired from active service after almost a half-century as a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, including nearly the last decade as a bishop.

“It will be nice to know I can sleep in,” Bishop Justice joked to Catholic San Francisco after celebrating early morning Mass at St. Matthew Church in San Mateo.

Bishop Justice said he likely will spend most weekends at the St. Matthew rectory where he lives with Msgr. John Talesfore, pastor and parochial vicar Father Alvin Yu. St. Matthew was Bishop Justice’s family parish when he was growing up and he was ordained to the priesthood there in 1968.

During the week he will be at the home his parents left him in Sonoma, enjoying small-town life and an occasional “good chardonnay.”

Bishop Justice said that because he loves the “fresh enthusiasm” of young people, he will still preside at confirmations, if asked, as well as other special liturgical celebrations.

Bishop Justice’s retirement at the mandatory age of 75 was accepted by Pope Francis and announced in Washington on Nov. 16 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

That same afternoon Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone saluted Bishop Justice at a retirement party at the archdiocesan pastoral center.

“I want to acknowledge to my colleagues in the priesthood and the diaconate, his friendly, personal and wise counsel during my years as archbishop,” he said in a statement issued to the clergy of the archdiocese that afternoon.

Archbishop Cordileone called Bishop Justice “a popular and successful priest and pastor” who served many parishes in the archdiocese.

Ordained in 1968, Bishop Justice served in a variety of parish and chancery assignments throughout his career, most recently as vicar general and director of the archdiocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity.

He also had a close connection with Hispanic Catholics in the archdiocese.

“The priests who are beginning should take him as an example to follow because he is very gentle, simple and humble,” said Pedro García Méndez, founder and director of the Guadalupana Crusade. “He has never failed the community.”

Archbishop Cordileone announced that Father Stephen Howell, pastor of St. Philip Parish, San Francisco, will replace Bishop Justice as vicar general.

San Francisco Catolico reporter Araceli Martinez contributed.

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