Thomas Welsh (bishop)

Last updated
The Most Reverend

Thomas Jerome Welsh
Bishop emeritus of Allentown
See Allentown
InstalledMarch 21, 1983
Term endedDecember 15, 1997
Predecessor Joseph McShea
Successor Edward Cullen
Other posts Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia (1970–74)
Bishop of Arlington (1974–83)
Orders
OrdinationMay 30, 1946
ConsecrationApril 2, 1970
Personal details
Born(1921-12-20)December 20, 1921
Weatherly, Pennsylvania
DiedFebruary 19, 2009(2009-02-19) (aged 87)
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Denomination Roman Catholic Church

Thomas Jerome Welsh (December 20, 1921 – February 19, 2009) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Arlington, Virginia (1974–83) and as Bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania (1983–97).

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Prelate High-ranking member of the clergy

A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means 'carry before', 'be set above or over' or 'prefer'; hence, a prelate is one set over others.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington diocese of the Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington is a diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the mid-atlantic United States. The Diocese of Arlington comprises 69 parishes located in the 21 northern-most counties within the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the Northern Virginia counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland, and cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge is the ordinary of the Diocese of Arlington since December 2016; his residence is on the grounds of the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington County, Virginia. In 2013, there were 256 priests and 453,916 registered Catholics in the Diocese of Arlington. The total population within the Diocese of Arlington, Catholic and non-Catholic, was 2,968,486.

Contents

Early life and education

Thomas Welsh was born in Weatherly, Pennsylvania, one of five children of Edward C. and Mary A. (née Doheny) Welsh. Raised in a strict Irish Catholic family, he received his early education at the parochial school St. Nicholas Church in Weatherly. [1] He then attended Schwab High School, also in Weatherly, and later began his studies for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook in 1937. [2]

Weatherly, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Weatherly is a borough in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, United States, located 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Jim Thorpe and 28 miles (45 km) south of Wilkes-Barre. Early in the twentieth century, there were silk mills, foundries, a candy factory, a fabricating plant, and a cigar factory. In 1900 2,471 people lived there, and in 1910, the population was 2,501. The population was 2,525 at the 2010 census.

Pennsylvania U.S. state in the United States

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the Northeastern, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.

A parochial school is a private primary or secondary school affiliated with a religious organization, and whose curriculum includes general religious education in addition to secular subjects, such as science, mathematics and language arts. The word "parochial" comes from the same root as "parish", and parochial schools were originally the educational wing of the local parish church. Christian parochial schools are often called "church schools" or "Christian schools". In Ontario, parochial schools are called "separate schools".

Priesthood

On May 30, 1946, Welsh was ordained a priest by Cardinal Dennis Dougherty at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul. [3] He was then sent to continue his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned a doctorate in canon law in 1949. [4] During his summers at the Catholic University, he served as a curate at St. Paul Church in Philadelphia, Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church [5] in Philadelphia, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church [6] in Doylestown. [7]

Dennis Joseph Dougherty Catholic cardinal

Dennis Joseph Dougherty was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1918 until his death in 1951, and was created a cardinal in 1921.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city, located on the Potomac River bordering Maryland and Virginia, is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

Doctor of Canon Law is the doctoral-level terminal degree in the studies of canon law of the Roman Catholic Church. It can also be an honorary degree awarded by Anglican colleges. It may also be abbreviated I.C.D. or dr.iur.can., ICDr., D.C.L., D.Cnl., D.D.C., or D.Can.L.. A Doctor of both laws is a J.U.D., or U.J.D..

In 1949, Welsh became a professor at Southeast Catholic High School (now St. John Neumann High School) in Philadelphia. [2] He was assigned as a curate at Holy Child Church in Philadelphia in 1951, and named a member of the Archdiocesan Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal in 1958. [1] He was appointed vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1963. He was raised to the rank of Monsignor by Pope Paul VI in September 1965, and became rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1966. [8] During his tenure as rector, he oversaw an extensive revision of the curriculum, which earned the seminary accreditation with the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; the construction of a new theology wing named Vianney Hall; and the establishment the School of Religious Studies and the School of Pastoral Studies. [7]

Saint John Neumann High School was an all-male Roman Catholic high school located in the South Philadelphia area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. In 2004 the school, which was a part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, merged with Saint Maria Goretti High School to form Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School.

Chancellor (ecclesiastical) ecclesiastic functionary

Chancellor is an ecclesiastical title used by several quite distinct officials of some Christian churches.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia archdiocese

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in southeastern Pennsylvania, in the United States. It covers the City and County of Philadelphia as well as Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. The diocese was erected by Pope Pius VII on April 8, 1808, from territories of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Originally the diocese included all of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and seven counties and parts of three counties in New Jersey. The diocese was raised to the dignity of a metropolitan archdiocese on February 12, 1875. The seat of the archbishop is the Cathedral-Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul.

Episcopacy

Philadelphia

On February 18, 1970, Welsh was appointed auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia [3] and titular bishop of Inis Cathaig by Paul VI. He received his consecration on the following April 2 from Cardinal John Krol, with Bishops Gerald Vincent McDevitt and John Joseph Graham serving as co-consecrators, at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul. As an auxiliary bishop, he continued to serve as rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. [4]

Auxiliary bishop position

An auxiliary bishop is a bishop assigned to assist the diocesan bishop in meeting the pastoral and administrative needs of the diocese. Auxiliary bishops can also be titular bishops of sees that no longer exist.

A titular bishop in various churches is a bishop who is not in charge of a diocese. By definition, a bishop is an "overseer" of a community of the faithful, so when a priest is ordained a bishop, the tradition of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place. There are more bishops than there are functioning dioceses. Therefore, a priest appointed not to head a diocese as its diocesan bishop but to be an auxiliary bishop, a papal diplomat, or an official of the Roman Curia is appointed to a titular see.

John Krol Catholic cardinal

John Joseph Krol was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1961 to 1988, having previously served as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland (1953–61). He was created a cardinal in 1967.

Arlington

Welsh was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Arlington in Virginia on June 4, 1974. He was installed on August 13 of that year. During his tenure, he established six new parishes and dedicated eleven new churches. He established the Office of Migration and Refugee Services in 1975 and the Family Life Bureau in 1977. [4] Bishop Welsh also began the diocesan newspaper, The Arlington Catholic Herald.

Virginia U.S. state in the United States

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million.

He was the founding president of the board of the Catholic Home Study Institute which became the Catholic Distance University. [9] The number of Catholics in Arlington increased from 154,000 to 179,000 under his guidance. [2]

Allentown

Following the resignation of Bishop Joseph M. McShea, Welsh was appointed the second Bishop of Allentown in his native Pennsylvania by Pope John Paul II on February 3, 1983. His installation took place at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena on March 21 of that year. [10] During his tenure, he established a "Stand Up For Life" campaign to encourage pro-life efforts, and frequently joined local abortion protesters for their monthly vigil at the Allentown Women's Clinic in Hanover Township. [2] He held workshops on natural family planning and Humanae Vitae for the diocesan clergy. [1]

Welsh established the first Youth Ministry Office in the diocese and raised $13 million in an endowment campaign for diocesan schools and other educational efforts. He was a member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. [1] Despite his reputation as a conservative, Welsh allowed girls to serve as altar servers at Mass, and gained recognition for his work to improve relations between Catholics and Jews. [2] He turned his home, a mansion purchased by Bishop McShea and bequeathed to the diocese upon his death, into a center for carrying on his pastoral work.

In 2018, Welsh was included in a report about cover-ups in six dioceses of Pennsylvania of child sexual abuse by priests. In the report, there are copies of correspondence with Bishop Leroy T. Matthiesen, referred to retired priest in Matthiesen's diocese as a recovering alcoholic. Bishop Welsh expressed concerns that the priest continue to be closely supervised. In 2002, the priest was arrested for abusing a 15-year old boy. [11] [ failed verification ] [12]

Later life and death

After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Welsh resigned as Bishop of Allentown on December 15, 1997. He was succeeded by Bishop Edward Peter Cullen, who, like Welsh and McShea, served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia before his appointment to Allentown. [13] During his retirement, Welsh continued to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation at parishes around the diocese. [1]

Welsh later died at Lehigh Valley Hospital at age 87. [2] He was buried in St. Nicholas Cemetery in his native Weatherly. [1]

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Bishop Thomas J. Welsh, Retired Bishop of Allentown, Dies at Age 87". Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown . 2009-02-19. Archived from the original on 2010-07-13.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Thomas Welsh, Allentown bishop, dies ** Catholic leader: Weatherly native led the diocese from 1983-97. He was 87". The Morning Call . 2009-02-20.
  3. 1 2 Baldwin, Lou. "Bishop Welsh, former seminary rector, dies at 87", Catholic Philly, February 26, 2009
  4. 1 2 3 Flach, Michael F. (1999-01-01). "Arlington's First Bishop: Thomas J. Welsh". Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington . Archived from the original on 2010-12-04.
  5. Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Philadelphia
  6. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Doylestown
  7. 1 2 "Pope names Welsh to replace McShea". Reading Eagle . 1983-02-08.
  8. "Career MILESTONES". Lehigh Valley Live. 2009-02-21.
  9. "Bishop Thomas J. Welsh: A living icon of the Good Shepherd and of hope". Archived from the original on 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
  10. "Bishop Thomas Jerome Welsh". Catholic-Hierarchy.org . David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.[ self-published source ]
  11. "For now, the law can do little about the shocking Catholic abuse report". NBC News. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  12. http://media-downloads.pacourts.us/InterimRedactedReportandResponses.pdf?cb=42148
  13. "Bishop Edward Peter Cullen". Catholic-Hierarchy.org . David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.[ self-published source ]
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
19701974
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Diocese Erected
Bishop of Arlington
19741983
Succeeded by
John Richard Keating
Preceded by
Joseph Mark McShea
Bishop of Allentown
19831997
Succeeded by
Edward Peter Cullen

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