Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Diocese of Spokane receives its new chief shepherd

the Inland Register

(From the March 19, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Bishop Thomas Anthony Daly. (IR photo courtesy of the Diocese of San Jose, Calif.)

Ending several months of anxious waiting and speculation, Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Thomas Anthony Daly the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Spokane. The announcement was made in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 12, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-select Daly presently is the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, whose see city is the 10th largest in the nation.

The bishop-select made a quick flight to Spokane on March 12 to meet diocesan officials, the staff of the Catholic Pastoral Center, and the priests of the Diocese. His appointment was made known to the public at a 9 a.m. press conference at Bishop White Seminary.

At the press conference, 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.

The new Bishop of Spokane succeeds Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, who led the Diocese of Spokane from September 2010 until his installation as the ninth Archbishop of Chicago on Nov. 18 of last year. Father Mike Savelesky, who was elected to serve as diocesan administrator while the See of Spokane is vacant (sede vacante), welcomed Bishop Daly in the name of the faithful of the Diocese.

“In the rich tradition of the Catholic Church, the succession of bishops is a vital element of the mission Jesus Christ has entrusted to his faithful disciples. As our diocese enters into its second century, we witness first-hand for the seventh time that handing on of leadership authority and governance,” Father Savelesky said.

“On behalf of the priests, deacons, religious and laity who form the Body of Christ we know as the Diocese of Spokane, I welcome Bishop Daly,” said Father Savelesky. “Serving a common mission, we look forward with excitement and eagerness to embracing along with him the tasks which lie ahead of us.”

Bishop Daly expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis for entrusting the Diocese of Spokane to his pastoral care.

“As I follow Archbishop Cupich, who contributed so much to the strength and vitality of this local Church during his brief four years here, I welcome this opportunity to serve. My ministry will build on the solid foundation which Archbishop Cupich, his predecessors, and the dedicated People of God have established here by the grace of God,” he said.

“The motto which I selected when I was ordained to the episcopacy, ‘Into Your Hands,’ reflects my desire to trust in the guidance of Divine Providence and the intercession of our Blessed Mother,” he said. “I look forward very much to getting to know the strengths and needs of the people in this part of Washington State – reaching out to them, as Pope Francis has encouraged us all to do.”

Spokane’s new bishop referenced the four-year pastoral plan, “Joy Made Complete,” which Archbishop Cupich promulgated shortly before his appointment to Chicago. “I look forward to studying the pastoral plan and moving forward with its implementation as soon as possible,” said Bishop Daly.

Bishop Thomas Daly talks with reporters during a press conference at Bishop White Seminary the morning of March 12. (IR photo by Eric Meisfjord)

Bishop Daly will spend the next two months completing his obligations in the San Jose Diocese and making his farewells to the people there. May 20 at 2 p.m. is set for his installation as Bishop of Spokane at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes. The apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, will be present at the installation.

A Vigil will be held at 6 p.m. the evening prior to the installation, at which representatives of clergy, deacons, Religious and secular groups in the Spokane Diocese will welcome the new bishop and join him for a time of prayer. Public receptions will follow the prayer vigil as well as the installation Mass.

Born April 30, 1960, one of seven children, Bishop Daly grew up in San Francisco. A product of Catholic school education since he was a first grader, he graduated from what is now Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of San Francisco in 1982. He entered priestly formation at St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, Calif., where he completed his studies with a master’s degree in divinity. In 1996 he received a master’s degree in education from Boston College.

Bishop Daly was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of San Francisco at St. Mary’s Cathedral on May 9, 1987.

He credits his parents, parish priests, the Daughters of Charity, and the De La Salle Christian Brothers with playing significant role as he discerned his call to the priesthood.

“Their example was one of stability and commitment to Jesus Christ,” he said. “My father was an executive who worked hard to send all of us children to Catholic schools. My mother lived each day with a strong sense of self-sacrifice, humility, compassion, and prayer. Both were outstanding models of discipleship.”

After ordination to priesthood, then- Father Daly served in a variety of pastoral positions. In addition to ministry as parochial vicar and pastor, he has been engaged as part-time police chaplain, archdiocesan vocations director, teacher, and campus minister, and chaplain to St. Vincent’s School for Boys. For 19 years his ministry focused on Marin Catholic High School in San Francisco, where he eventually served as president.

On March 16, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Father Daly auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, the first to serve in that capacity in the history of that diocese. He was ordained to the episcopacy at San Jose’s St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica on May 25, 2011 by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of San Jose. Co-ordaining bishops were Archbishop George H. Niederauer, Archbishop of San Francisco, and Bishop George Leo Thomas, Bishop of Helena, Mont.

Reflecting its tradition of linking a bishop with at least a representative flock of his own, the appointment also named him titular bishop of Tabalta, Tunisia, in North Africa.

At the present time Bishop Daly assists Bishop McGrath with the governance of the Diocese of San Jose, including a period as interim rector at his alma mater, St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park.

Bishop Daly will continue to serve as auxiliary bishop of San Jose until he is installed as Bishop of Spokane. Until his installation, Father Mike Savelesky will continue to serve as administrator of the Spokane Diocese.

The bishop’s move to the Inland Northwest will take adjusting to more than a change in weather conditions. The Catholic community in the Diocese of San Jose numbers 670,000; the Diocese of Spokane, 96,000.

Bishop Daly has chosen to reside at Bishop White Seminary, the diocese’s priestly formation program, as did his predecessor, Archbishop Cupich.

(Father Mike Savelesky and Inland Register editor Eric Meisfjord contributed to this report.)

Excerpts from ‘Ceremonial of Bishops: A Reader’

• The bishop of the diocese, or particular church, holds a crucial place in the midst of the faithful. His central position is due to his being selected to focus the life and ministry of the diocese. He stands in the midst of his people as the first believer and the first person of prayer. He leads the people in prayer and presides at their liturgical assemblies. A man of compassion himself, he provides for the reconciliation of members of the Church with God and with each other.

• His relationships are multiple. He is the effective leader of each person in the diocese, the pastor of presbyters and other official ministers, the servant of Christ, the link with other bishops and dioceses, especially with the bishop of Rome. He reaches back to connect with the apostolic church and the life of the Church through the ages. He leans forward in hope to show the people the goal of their striving, the reign of God.

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