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Remembering Bishop O’Dowd

April 3, 2015
Brother William Bolts, SM (Marianist)

In the March 20 issue of Catholic San Francisco there appeared an enlightening article on the ordinaries/bishops who were natives of the San Francisco archdiocese. I was disappointed with no mention of a native auxiliary bishop who made a deep impact on Catholic education after World War II: James T. O’Dowd. This auxiliary, who as Msgr. O’Dowd was archdiocesan schools superintendent from 1941-48, had a short tenure as bishop before being tragically killed in a train accident in 1950. Today Archbishop Riordan High School stands as a monument to his legacy. The next high school built was named for him: Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, which was then part of the San Francisco archdiocese.

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