Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, died unexpectedly on May 2 in Philadelphia, where he was attending a meeting of the Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania. Bishop McFadden was 65 years old, and served as the Bishop of Harrisburg since August 18, 2010.
He was born on May 22, 1947 to Thomas and Ellen (Griffin) McFadden in Philadelphia; baptized at St. Rose of Lima Parish, attended Our Lady of Lourdes elementary school and St. Thomas More High School where he was class valedictorian.
In 1969 he graduated from St. Joseph University with a Bachelor of Science degree in politics. As a freshman he played on the college basketball team and during his remaining years in college he coached boys basketball, first at St. Thomas More High School and then at West Catholic High School for Boys, where he joined the faculty after graduation. He also served as Director of Athletics for West Catholic and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Catholic League.
In 1976 he entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, and graduated summa cum laude. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 1981 by Cardinal John Krol of Philadelphia in the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.
His first assignment as a priest began in June 1981 as parochial vicar at St. Laurence Parish in Highland Park, Pa. The following year he became Administrative Secretary to Cardinal Krol, a position he held until 1993. On May 29, 1991, he was named as Honorary Prelate to His Holiness Pope John Paul II with the title of Monsignor.
In 1993, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia appointed him as the first President of Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pa. where he worked to establish the school’s innovative “Laptops for Learning” program.
In 2001, he was assigned as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Downingtown, Pa., where he served until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia in June 2004. He was ordained to the Episcopacy by Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia in the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul on July 28, 2004.
On June 22, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the Tenth Bishop of Harrisburg.
His installation took place on August 18, 2010 at St. Patrick Cathedral, Harrisburg
Bishop McFadden was a strong advocate for Catholic education, and a tireless promoter of parents’ rights to choose the education best suited for their children. He also embraced the use of technology in evangelization, and hosted countless web and video conferences with school students whereby he engaged them through catechesis, question-and-answer sessions, and opportunities for prayer.
He served as a member of many organizations including as President of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference; chairman of the United States Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education as well as their Task Force Committee on Faith Formation and Sacramental Preparation. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa and in 2009 became the recipient of the first Shamrock Award presented by the Alumni of St. Thomas More and West Catholic High Schools.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Ellen (Griffin) McFadden, and is survived by his brother, John McFadden and his wife Mary Jo, Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Jane McFadden, and Ellen McConney and her husband Patrick, eight nephews and nieces, and nine great-nephews and nieces.
Bishop McFadden’s body will be received at St. Patrick Cathedral, 212 State Street, Harrisburg, on Sunday, May 5 at 7 p.m., where he will lie in repose until Tuesday, May 7 at 4 p.m. Solemn Evening Prayer will take place at St. Patrick Cathedral on Monday, May 6 at 7 p.m. The Rite of Transfer of the Body will take place Tuesday, May 7 at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick Cathedral and received at 4 p. m. at Holy Name of Jesus Church, 6150 Allentown Blvd. Harrisburg with Solemn Evening Prayer at 7 p.m.
The Solemn Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Holy Name of Jesus Church, on Wednesday,
May 8 at 10:30 a.m. with a public viewing beginning at 9:00 a.m. and end Burial will be in the Bishops’ Circle at Holy Cross Cemetery, 4075 Derry Street, Harrisburg.
Letters of Condolences may be sent to:
Mrs. Ellen McConney
458 Gateswood Drive
West Chester, PA 19380
Contributions in the name of Bishop McFadden may be made to Catholic Education, Diocese of Harrisburg, 4800 Union Deposit Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111