April 2, 2002
The Most Rev. Edward C. OLeary, bishop emeritus of Portland, Maine,
died April 2 at St. Josephs Manor in Portland, at 81.
Bishop OLeary 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
Previously, Bishop OLeary 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 OLeary 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. Margarets
Church in Old Orchard Beach and as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church in
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
Bishop OLeary completed his studies for the priesthood at St. Pauls
Seminary in Ottawa, Canada, where he received a licentiate in sacred theology.
He is survived by two sisters; and several nephews and nieces.