It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the death of Bishop Joseph P. McFadden. He died unexpectedly while attending a meeting of the Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania being held in Philadelphia.
While staying at a rectory he awoke feeling ill 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.
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 the Holy Father.
Bishop McFadden was the tenth Bishop of Harrisburg. He 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.
Joseph P. McFadden was born in Philadelphia on May 22, 1947, the son of Thomas and Ellen (Griffin) McFadden. He lived with his parents and brother, John, and his two sisters, Jane and Ellen, in West Philadelphia and was baptized at Saint Rose of Lima Parish. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes elementary school from 1953-1961. He attended Saint Thomas More High School for Boys from 1961 to 1965. While in high school, he was a member of the Student Council, the Newspaper, the J.V.and Varsity Basketball teams and a member of the National Honor Society. He was also the Class Valedictorian. Following high school, he matriculated to Saint Joseph University majoring in Political Science. He graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Politics. While at St. Joseph, he played on the Freshmen Basketball Team and then embarked on a career of coaching basketball during his remaining years in college, first as the Freshman Coach at St. Thomas More High School and then as the Junior Varsity Coach at West Catholic High School for Boys.
On graduating from Saint Joseph University, Bishop McFadden was hired to teach at West Catholic Boys High School. While teaching, he also coached the J. V. Baseball Team, the J.V. and Varsity Basketball Teams becoming the Head Coach in 1973 and was Moderator of the Student Council. In 1972 he was appointed the Director of Athletics for West Catholic and served on the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Catholic League.
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. On May 16, 1981 he was ordained a Priest in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul by His Eminence John Cardinal Krol. Bishop McFadden received a Master of Divinity Degree on completion of his studies at Saint Charles Seminary graduating Summa Cum Laude.
In June of 1981, he was assigned the Parochial Vicar at St. Laurence Parish, Highland Park. In 1982 he was appointed Administrative Secretary to Cardinal Krol and held that position from 1982 to 1993. On May 29, 1991, he was named an Honorary Prelate to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor.
In 1993, Bishop McFadden was named by Cardinal Bevilacqua to be the first President of Cardinal O’Hara High School, Springfield, PA. During his tenure as President, the school’s enrollment increased from 1540 students to 2000 students 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 in June 2004. Bishop McFadden was ordained to the Episcopacy by Cardinal Justin Rigali in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul on July 28, 2004.
On June 22, 2010 Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop McFadden the Tenth Bishop of Harrisburg. He was installed in St. Patrick Cathedral on August 18, 2010. On that date, he began his ministry as Bishop of Harrisburg.
More information will be sent as it becomes available. A special section dedicated to this information for the Diocesan website is anticipated.