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1942
Bishop Edward C. O’Leary
April 2, 2002

The Most Rev. Edward C. O’Leary, bishop emeritus of Portland, Maine, died April 2 at St. Joseph’s Manor in Portland, at 81.

Bishop O’Leary had served 14 years as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Portland, from 1974 until his retirement in 1988. During his episcopacy, the diocese added two new parishes in Westbrook and Scarborough; became a member of the Maine Council of Churches; and sponsored several low-income elderly housing projects. Addressing social and moral issues, he spoke publicly against abortion and capital punishment and in support of nuclear disarmament; he also developed a plan of action for Catholic social services to assist people with AIDS.

Previously, Bishop O’Leary had served three years as the auxiliary bishop of Portland and titular bishop of Moglaena; from 1969 to 1971 he had been president of the priest senate, a member of the diocesan finance committee and director of the Commodity Service Corp.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1946, Bishop O’Leary began his ministry as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Portland; from 1946 to 1950, he was an associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, also in Portland. Other parish assignments included serving as pastor of St. Margaret’s Church in Old Orchard Beach and as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Brunswick.

Appointed vice chancellor and notary in 1950, he served as chancellor from 1952 until 1965. In 1954, he was appointed papal chamberlain; in 1956, he was elevated to domestic prelate by the pope, and, in 1964, he was appointed diocesan consultor.

Bishop O’Leary completed his studies for the priesthood at St. Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa, Canada, where he received a licentiate in sacred theology.

He is survived by two sisters; and several nephews and nieces.

 

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