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Retired Bishops

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Bishop John B. McCormack

Ninth Bishop of Manchester, July 21, 1998 – September 19, 2011.

John McCormack was born on August 12, 1935 in Winthrop, MA. After attending multiple schools, he was ordained in Boston on February 2, 1960. He served as associate pastor at St. James Parish in Salem, MA, then was appointed executive director of North Shore Catholic Charities Center in Peabody, MA in 1967. After serving as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Malden-Medford, MA for four years, Father McCormack was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Boston in 1995.

On July 21, 1998, the late Saint Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop McCormack the ninth Bishop of Manchester. During his episcopacy, Bishop McCormack built twelve new churches, though the number of parishes declined from 130 to 90. He also established multiple programs, restored St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester and dealt with the aftermath of the sexual abuse crisis. He enjoyed frequently visiting schools and parishes.

Bishop McCormack retired from office on September 19, 2011.

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Bishop Odore Gendron

Seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, December 12, 1974 – June 12, 1990.

Odore Gendron was born in Manchester, NH on Sept 13, 1921, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Brady on May 31, 1947.

After being an associate pastor at three parishes for eight years, Father Gendron gained his first pastorate at Our Lady of Lourdes in Pittsfield in 1965. Two years later, he was transferred to St. Augustin Parish in Manchester, later being appointed the first episcopal vicar for women religious in 1972.

Father Gendron was appointed Bishop of Manchester on December 12, 1974, nearly a year after the resignation of Bishop Primeau.

Bishop Gendron’s first major undertaking was to travel to each of his 130 parishes to visit and celebrate Mass. He was very close to his priests – unheard of before Vatican II and unusual this soon after – and often had informal breakfasts and meetings with them.

Bishop Gendron oversaw the beginning of many programs and ministries including the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and the permanent diaconate, both in 1980. He also helped the Diocese become a member of the formerly all-Protestant New Hampshire Council of Churches in 1983 and oversaw the Diocese Centennial Celebration in 1984.

In April 1990, Bishop Gendron petitioned for retirement, believing that the diocese was ready for new leadership. His request was accepted on June 12, 1990. Bishop Gendron continues to live in Manchester.

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Bishop Francis J. Christian

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.