Bishop W. Francis Malooly’s brother bishops in the Archdiocese of Baltimore hailed his July 7 appointment as the new bishop of Wilmington as a sign of Pope Benedict XVI’s confidence in Baltimore’s native son.
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore has been enormously blessed by the priestly and episcopal ministry of Bishop Fran Malooly,” said Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien. “His long service and friendly demeanor have endeared him to so many in our archdiocese, especially the faithful of the western vicariate.”
The appointment leaves many in Baltimore with mixed emotions: happiness for a “well-earned honor,” Archbishop O’Brien said, and “sadness for the great sense of loss we will all feel by his departure.”
Bishop Malooly has served “zealously and graciously” for more than 38 years, Archbishop O’Brien said. Following his 1970 ordination, Bishop Malooly was the associate pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in Baltimore and St. Joseph in Cockeysville. He later served as associate administrator and administrator of the Monsignor O’Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, director of clergy personnel, chancellor and vicar general and moderator of the curia. He became western vicar in 2001 when he was appointed auxiliary bishop.
“In every position of responsibility, Bishop Malooly constantly approached the task at hand efficiently, gracefully and humbly,” Archbishop O’Brien said. “Few know this archdiocese as well as he.”
The archbishop said he was “personally grateful” for Bishop Malooly’s dedicated service and “most especially for his unwavering and supportive friendship.”
“His seasoned, prudent counsel will be missed by so many of us,” Archbishop O’Brien said.
Cardinal William H. Keeler said he was “delighted” to learn of the appointment.
“Bishop W. Francis Malooly will bring a spiritual approach to his work, as he has done here,” he said. “He will find that he already knows many of the priests and, in parts of the diocese on the ocean, many people from Baltimore, there for the summer.”
The cardinal said he was “most grateful for his exemplary help to me over the years.”‘
“We are sad to see him go,” he said.
Archbishop William D. Borders, retired archbishop, said he was not surprised by Bishop Malooly’s appointment.
“Having known him ever since I came to Baltimore 34 years ago, I have recognized his priestly qualities, his unselfish leadership and his ability to relate to all people,” Archbishop Borders said “He will bring to Wilmington the experience of years of working with personnel, of understanding the Gospel message and the ability to relate in times of ease and in times of stress.”
Bishop Denis J. Madden, urban vicar, described Bishop Malooly as the “right-hand man” of Archbishop Borders, Cardinal William H. Keeler and Archbishop O’Brien.
“He does a great deal of work and a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” said Bishop Madden, who called Bishop Malooly a personal mentor.
Bishop Malooly combines sensitivity for pastoral outreach with an ability to administrate well, Bishop Madden said.
“He has an ability to see things through when he is asked to do something,” said Bishop Madden. “He always has the courage to see them through and not put things on the backburner.”
Bishop Madden noted that his friend never says anything negative or derogatory.
“He always speaks in a positive light,” Bishop Madden said. “He always looks for the best way to help people.”
Bishop Malooly has a “very keen mind and an ability to assess situations,” according to Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, eastern vicar.
Bishop Rozanski noted that Bishop Malooly is respected by bishops on a national level, particularly for the sensitive way he dealt with clergy sexual abuse. The bishop served on the bishops’ committee for child and youth protection.
Bishop Rozanski said Bishop Malooly has been a great friend to priests, religious and lay people throughout the archdiocese.
“The people of Wilmington are getting a great gift from the Holy Father,” said Bishop Rozanski.
Bishop William C. Newman, retired eastern vicar, said he “couldn’t be happier” for Bishop Malooly and the people of Wilmington.
“He will be a shepherd that will get to know the people and be interested in their spiritual welfare and their personal welfare,” he said.