Bishop Joseph McFadden is dead at the age of 65

Written by Tim Lambert and Craig Layne | May 2, 2013 12:49 PM

Photo by Matt Paul, Radio Pennsylvania

(Harrisburg) -- Diocese of Harrisburg Bishop Joseph McFadden has died at the age of 65. 

McFadden, the tenth Bishop of Harrisburg,  was attending a meeting of the Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

Diocese spokesman Joe Aponick says the Bishop McFadden was feeling ill when he woke up this morning and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 7:40 a.m. A cause of death has not yet been announced.

McFadden was appointed on June 22, 2010, by then Pope Benedict XVI. He was installed as Bishop of Harrisburg on August 18, 2010 in St. Patrick Cathedral, Harrisburg.

The governance of the Diocese of Harrisburg passed to the College of Consultors upon his death. They will have eight days to elect an Administrator who will be in charge of the day to day operation of the Diocese until a new Bishop is appointed by Pope Francis.

Aponick, who took part in a press conference today about the bishop's passing, says McFadden was beloved by parishioners across the 15-county diocese.

"He was just finishing up confirmation season, where the Bishop confirms young people into the faith.  It was a large part of his schedule," Aponick says. "He was just a man of the people."


Photo by Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg

McFadden was a Philadelphia native attended Saint Thomas More High School for Boys from 1961 to 1965 and graduated from  Saint Joseph University, with a degree in Political Science. 

In 1976 Bishop McFadden entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary to study for the priesthood and was ordained a Deacon in 1980 and assigned to Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Secane. Five years later, he was ordained a Priest in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul by His Eminence John Cardinal Krol.

Cardinal Bevilacqua named Bishop McFadden to be the first President of Cardinal O’Hara High School, Springfield, PA, in 1993. During his tenure, the school’s enrollment increased from 1,540 students to 2,000  and he helped to initiate the innovative computer “Laptops for Learning” program in the school.

In 2001, Bishop McFadden was appointed Pastor of St Joseph Parish, Downingtown, where he ministered until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia three years later. Bishop McFadden was ordained to the Episcopacy by Cardinal Justin Rigali in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul on July 28, 2004.

This story has been updated.

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