About Us » Bishop Emeritus
The Most Reverend John Brendan McCormack, D.D. was born August 12, 1935, in Winthrop, Massachusetts, and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the son of the late Cornelius and Eleanor (Noonan) McCormack.
He attended St. Mary’s Grammar School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Boston College High School, Cardinal O’Connell Seminary College, and St. John’s Seminary, all in Boston, Massachusetts. On February 2, 1960, he was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. He pursued graduate studies at Boston College, earning a master’s degree in social work in 1969.
Following his ordination as a priest, Bishop McCormack served as associate pastor at St. James Parish, Salem, Massachusetts, and was later appointed executive director of North Shore Catholic Charities Center in Peabody, Massachusetts, where he served from 1967 – 1981.
After Bishop McCormack’s almost 15 years of close association with Catholic Charities, he was appointed pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Malden-Medford, Massachusetts, where he served for four years.
In 1984, Bishop McCormack was appointed Secretary for Ministerial Personnel in the Archdiocese of Boston to provide oversight and planning for the institutions and offices of the archdiocese that dealt with seminarians, priests, deacons, and religious and lay ministers. He was ordained a bishop and appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop of Boston in 1995, serving as regional bishop for the South Region of the Archdiocese of Boston until 1998.
On July 21, 1998, Pope John Paul II appointed him the ninth Bishop of Manchester where he was installed on September 22, 1998. He retired in 2011.
Bishop McCormack modeled his ministry as diocesan bishop in New Hampshire on his episcopal motto, “Christ in all things.” He has said, “To find Christ in each person and daily event is my goal as a Christian. To work with others in bringing Christ’s wisdom, mercy and love into the lives of Catholics is my ministry as bishop. I find it a pleasure to live and serve the people of New Hampshire and also the wider Church.”
During his episcopacy, Bishop McCormack promoted the role of the laity in all aspects of Church life. He instituted two programs to form and educate lay leaders for parish service and ministry. In light of the shifting demographics and the number of priests available for parish ministry, he established a Long Range Planning Commission charged with developing and managing a process where recommendations for parishes began at the parish level, involving the input of parishioners working with their pastors. During this time, the number of parishes declined from 130 to 90, but 12 new churches were built in the diocese.
In addition, Bishop McCormack revitalized the Diocesan Presbyteral, Pastoral and Finance Councils, established a comprehensive child protection program and a Diocesan Review Board, and solidified the staffing of diocesan administration. Bishop McCormack demonstrated a commitment to his role as teacher of the faith. He frequently preached in person and in writing about the Church’s social teachings and the responsibility of the laity to become involved in the public square. Bishop McCormack inaugurated a new class of permanent deacons, expanded the office of priest and deacon ongoing formation, placed great emphasis on the identification and nurturing of priestly vocations, and began the process of restoring Saint Joseph Cathedral.
Bishop McCormack’s role as a pastoral shepherd in the Diocese was another important facet of his episcopacy. He believed in building on the spiritual life present within parishes and clergy, regularly visiting parishes and Catholic schools, and consulting with clergy and lay people to a degree rarely seen in diocesan history.
Diocese of Manchester
The Catholic Church in New Hampshire
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Manchester, NH 03105-0310
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