Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, May 14, 1996 – February 1, 2018.
Bishop Francis Joseph Christian was born October 8, 1942 in Peterborough, NH, the only child of the late Joseph L. and Dorothy M. Christian. He attended Jaffrey public schools and is a 1960 graduate of Conant High School.
Bishop Christian studied at Saint Anselm College in Manchester for two years, before entering the seminary in 1962. He studied at Saint Paul Seminary in Ottawa from 1962 to 1964 and completed his undergraduate study with a B.A. and a B.Ph. from the University of Ottawa, in 1964. He studied at the American College at the University of Louvain in Belgium from 1964 to 1968, earning a master’s degree in theology in 1968.
Bishop Ernest J. Primeau, the sixth bishop of Manchester, ordained Bishop Christian to the priesthood on June 29, 1968 at Saint Patrick Parish in Jaffrey. He served three years at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Merrimack and a year at Saint Joseph Cathedral in Manchester, both as parochial vicar, before returning to Louvain in 1973 for doctoral work in moral theology. Bishop Christian completed his Ph.D. summa cum laude in religious studies with a specialization in moral theology in February 1975.
Bishop Christian was appointed assistant chancellor of the Diocese of Manchester in March 1975, and was made chancellor in June 1977. Pope John Paul II named Bishop Christian a prelate of honor, which includes the title "Monsignor," in 1986.
He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Manchester by Pope John Paul II and was ordained a bishop by the Most Reverend Leo E. O'Neil, the eighth Bishop of Manchester on May 14, 1996.
Bishop Christian retired as Auxiliary Bishop of Manchester on February 1, 2018.