Friday, January 20, 2017


 All of the modern Bishops have had a great influence on the peoples of Hawaii, politically, socially and religiously. 

Bishop Sweeney  (1941-1967)

Pope Pius XII, on May 20, 1941, named Father James J. Sweeney of San Francisco as the first bishop of the newly established Diocese of Honolulu. He was 42.

Bishop Sweeney's appointment occurred seven months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. During the war, he organized a Crusade of Prayer, by which the children of the diocese each adopted one of the many servicemen who flooded the islands and prayed for him and his safety. The bishop confirmed nearly 400 troops during this time, visited hospitals, and worked with the Sisters of St. Francis to expand St. Francis Hospital to improve medical facilities for the civilian population.

Catholic education blossomed under Bishop Sweeny. When he was appointed in 1941, there were 19 Catholic schools, by his 25th anniversary as bishop; the diocese had two seminaries (one diocesan, and one of the Sacred Hearts Congregation), 10 Catholic high schools and 30 elementary schools with 17,150 students enrolled.
Bishop Sweeney also established the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) to teach the faith to children attending non-Catholic schools. By 1966, there were 22,613 students in religious instruction classes from the public schools.
Bishop Sweeney also created many new parishes: ten on Oahu, six on the Big Island, three on Maui, one on Lanai, two on Kauai, and one on Molokai.

To increase the number of priests for the diocese, Bishop Sweeney purchased the Harold Castle home in Kaneohe and turned it into St. Stephen's Seminary in May 1946.
He built up the diocese's Catholic Social Service, reorganized Catholic Charities in 1943, and again revamped it in 1948.

With his auxiliary Bishop John J. Scanlan, Bishop Sweeney also attended the first session of the Second Vatican Council 1962.  Bishop Sweeney retired and soon after passed to his eternal reward on June 19, 1968.

Bishop Scanlan  (1967-1982)

Born in County Cork, Ireland in 1906, and serving San Francisco since his ordination in 1930, Bishop Scanlan was named auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu in 1954. He attended sessions of the Second Vatican Council starting in 1962 until their completion in 1965. Bishop Scanlan was bishop when I lived in Oahu.

In 1967, Pope Paul VI appointed him apostolic administrator of the diocese when illness forced Bishop Sweeney to retire. Upon Bishop Sweeney's death the next year, Bishop Scanlan was named the second Bishop of Honolulu.

As bishop, he created four new parishes in Hawaii and built nine churches. He welcomed Hawaii's increasingly diversified ethnic mix by establishing Masses in different parishes in Korean, Filipino dialects and Vietnamese, and also helped to establish a Samoan Catholic Council.

Bishop Scanlan was responsible for inviting nine new religious communities to serve in the diocese in schools, hospitals, outreach and the contemplative life.

Bishop Scanlan led a public demonstration in the rotunda of the State Capitol in 1970 against a proposed abortion bill, and after the bill became law was an outspoken proponent for the respect and reverence of life. As a response to the abortion issue, he opened the Mary Jane Home for unwed mothers and their babies, inviting the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to Hawaii to operate the facility in 1976.
In 1981, he ordained the diocese's first class of permanent deacons.

Bishop Scanlan retired at the mandatory age of 75 in 1981, remaining as apostolic administrator of the diocese until Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario, auxiliary since 1978, was appointed bishop in 1982.  Bishop Scanlon died on January 31, 1997.

Bishop Ferrario  (1982-1993)

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania., Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario came to Hawaii as a Sulpician priest to teach at St. Stephen's Seminary, a position he held for nine years.

He then joined the diocese, holding various administrative positions including the directorship of the Catholic Youth Organization. As head of CYO for five years, he helped recruit island teens and young adults to serve hundreds of disadvantaged children in camping and summer fun programs.

In 1978, after serving as pastor in two Oahu parishes, Father Ferrario was ordained auxiliary bishop to Bishop John J. Scanlan, succeeding him four years later in June 1982, as the third Bishop of Honolulu
Under the goals of "outreach, unity and renewal," Bishop Ferrario reorganized Catholic Charities, established the Office for Social Ministry and various ethnic ministries, encouraged parish renewal and actively promoted the concept of stewardship.

A strong supporter of liturgical renewal, Bishop Ferrario also established the Office of Worship and encouraged the updating of church interiors.
He established the Augustine Educational Foundation to provide tuition assistance for children in Catholic schools.

During his 11 years as bishop, he established two new Oahu parishes, Saint Jude in Makakilo and Resurrection of the Lord in Waipio. In 1985, he donated church land in Maui to establish transitional housing for Oahu's growing population of beach people.

Catholic Charities continued to pioneer progressive transitional shelters on three islands offering not only places for the homeless to live, but also vocational, medical and counseling services.

Bishop Ferrario retired on October 13, 1993 because of ill health.  He died on December 12, 2003.

Bishop DiLorenzo   (1993-2004)

Philadelphia native Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo was the auxiliary Bishop of Scranton when Pope John Paul II named him to be administrator of the Diocese of Honolulu immediately upon the retirement of Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario.

He served as administrator for a year before the pope appointed him as the fourth Bishop of Honolulu.
Installed on November 30, 1994, at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, Bishop DiLorenzo introduced a diocese-wide parish renewal and review program called the "Welcoming Parish".

In June 2000, Bishop DiLorenzo convened the diocese's second synod to prepare the church in Hawaii for the 21st century through the drafting of 12 major proposals.  Youth ministry and religious education were the top concerns of the synod delegates.

The bishop increased and strengthened the diocese's ministry to newly arrived immigrants, in particular Filipinos, Vietnamese, Samoans, Hispanics, Koreans, and Chinese.

During Bishop DiLorenzo's administration, the diocese joined a coalition to block the legalization by court mandate of same-sex marriage in Hawaii. The effort led to the adoption of a state constitutional amendment, which gave the power to ban same-sex marriage to the legislature.

Bishop DiLorenzo responded to the national sexual abuse scandal by heightening its response to victims, establishing a victim assistance program, publicizing its sexual misconduct policies and mandating safe environment training for all clergy and church and school employees.

After nearly 11 years in Hawaii, Bishop DiLorenzo was appointed by the Holy Father to be Bishop of Richmond, Virginia. He was installed in Richmond on May 24, 2004.

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