Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore
James Francis (Frank) Stafford was born July 26, 1932 in Baltimore, the only child of Francis Emmett and Mary Dorothy (Stanton) Stafford. His father was owner of a successful furniture store. Always studious and an “achiever,” Frank moved from Loyola High School in 1950 to Loyola College in Baltimore with the intent of pursuing a career in medicine, but in 1952 the violent death of a friend caused him to rethink his future and to enter St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. In 1954, he was sent by Archbishop Francis Keough to the Pontifical North American College in Rome in order to attend the Gregorian University. There he received a licentiate in sacred theology in 1958. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 15, 1957 at the North American College by its rector, Bishop Martin J. O’Connor.
A parish priest until 1962, Father Stafford was sent for two years to the Catholic University of America to study community organization and social work and there received a master’s degree. He matriculated also at Rutgers University in alcohol studies and the University of Wisconsin in management. In 1964 he was chosen assistant director and in 1969 director of the archdiocesan Associated Catholic Charities by Cardinal Lawrence Shehan, to which body was entrusted in 1969 most of the inner-city programs. In 1969 he was also named chairman of a committee to reorganize the central services of the archdiocese and in 1971 was made head of a committee to create its collegial structures, pastoral councils at three levels. In 1971 he was also elected president of the priests’ senate, by his fellow priests, which under Cardinal Shehan played an important role in many of the latter’s most important decisions.
A monsignor since 1970, Francis Stafford was chosen by Archbishop William D. Borders as one of his two auxiliaries and was by him ordained bishop on February 29, 1976, in the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. That same day he was appointed urban vicar for the city of Baltimore. During his twenty-six years in Baltimore he initiated or served on more than sixty-five boards, committees, and other organizations