Auxiliary Bishop emeritus of Buffalo celebrates 70 years of priesthood
Bishop Bernard J. McLaughlin, auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Buffalo, celebrates the 70th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on Wed., Dec. 21.
In 1925, he entered the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary being in the first graduation class. Five years later he matriculated at the Urban College for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome. He was ordained a priest in St. John Lateran Basilica, Vatican City, on Dec. 21, 1935. He continued his studies in Rome for another six months before returning to Buffalo. On Aug. 14, 1936, he was named as assistant at St. Joseph New Cathedral, where he remained until June 1942, when he was appointed secretary of the Diocesan Tribunal. On May 31, 1946, the future bishop was appointed assistant chancellor and soon after became vice chancellor. He became chancellor of the diocese on Dec. 16, 1953.
Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, bishop of Buffalo, said, "I wish to thank Bishop McLaughlin for his significant contributions to the priesthood and the faith lives of the people of the Diocese of Buffalo. 70 years in service to God is remarkable, and the bishop has always carried out his responsibilities in a humble, gracious manner. We give thanks for Bishop McLaughlin and pray that his priestly ministry continues for years to come."
In November 1950, Bishop McLaughlin was selected to establish the new parish of Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Buffalo's West Side. While still continuing his duties at the Chancery, he was transferred from Coronation to the pastorate of Blessed Sacrament Church in Kenmore in June 1961.
Bishop McLaughlin received several honors from the Vatican. On April 6, 1950, Pope Pius XII made him a private chamberlain with the title of Very Reverend Monsignor. Three years later he was raised to the rank of domestic prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor. On Dec. 4,1967, Pope Paul made him a prothonotary apostolic. In addition to his work as chancellor, he was a member of the board of diocesan counsultors and a vicar general.
On Jan. 8, 1969, accompanied by Buffalo's Auxiliary Bishop the Most Rev. Pius A. Benincasa, the new bishop flew to Rome where he was elevated to the episcopacy in ceremonies in St. Peter's Basilica, mother church of Christendom. Pope Paul VI added a new distinction when His Holiness invited the bishop-elect to Rome. This was the first time that a Diocesan of the See of Buffalo was ordained bishop by a Pope. He was given the title of Titular Bishop of Mottola.
On Jan. 13, 1972, Bishop McLaughlin was named pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Kenmore, where he remained for 16 years. "I am very proud to be ministering in the parish where St. John Neumann worked," he said at the time of his appointment. While pastor of St. John, Bishop McLaughlin oversaw continued growth of the parish, the renovation of the St. John Neumann Chapel on the parish grounds and the establishment of the St. John Neumann museum in the chapel.
Following the death of Bishop James A. McNulty on Sept. 4, 1972, Bishop McLaughlin was elected diocesan administrator by the College of Consultors. He served as the temporary leader of the Diocese of Buffalo until Bishop Edward D. Head was installed on March 19, 1973.
Born in North Tonawanda on Nov. 19, 1912, Bishop McLaughlin is the son of the late Michael Henry McLaughlin and Mary Agnes Curran McLaughlin. He was baptized in Ascension Church, North Tonawanda. The family later moved to Visitation Parish in Buffalo where he attended the parish school.
Bishop McLaughlin resides in the Town of Tonawanda and continues to celebrate Mass at St. Timothy Parish in the town.
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