Happy 60th Anniversary, Bishop Pierre, Ad Multos Annos!

Happy 60th Anniversary, Bishop Pierre, Ad Multos Annos!

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In a recent conversation covering the wide range of the six decades since his ordination as a priest, Bishop Pierre DuMaine reminisced about the origins of his vocation, the exhilaration of the Second Vatican Council, his appointment as first Bishop of San Jose and the establishing of the Diocese.

Bishop DuMaine attributes his vocation to the positive influence of priests he had known prior to his entrance into the seminary at the age of 14 and during his years of formation. Among these, was long-time pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Belmont, Father John J. Kenny.

The bishop was in Washington, D.C., studying at the Catholic University of America, during the years of the Second Vatican Council. He welcomed the changes introduced by the Council, particularly the liturgical reforms. According to Bishop DuMaine, the foundation of the new Diocese of San Jose was a wonderful opportunity, the theology of the Council taking flesh in the nascent Diocese. Key among the guiding principles were the active role of the laity and religious women, and a permeating spirit of collaboration.

Bishop Emeritus Pierre DuMaine, second row, fourth from the right, poses with his fellow classmates at Saint Joseph Seminary in Mountain View. DuMaine, then 25, was ordained a priest on June 15, 1957. Joining him at the seminary and also celebrating 60 years is Monsignor Lou Andre.

On the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the Diocese of San Jose (March 1996), Bishop DuMaine wrote in “The Valley Catholic” about “I like what I see” and “What I would like to see” in the Diocese:

I like what I see – and have found support for my own faith and ministry – in the vitality of Catholic life across the spectrum of language and culture, economic and social condition, among priests and lay minister, and among all the faithful, especially the leaders and volunteers in every parish and Catholic enterprise.

Father Pierre DuMaine with his parents after his ordination on June 15, 1957.

I would like to see this vitality focused and driven by a clearer sense of Catholic identity and Catholic solidarity that will achieve a greater Catholic unity within each parish, within our diocese, and with the universal Church.

By Catholic solidarity, I mean a livelier sense of kinship with all other Catholics, an active caring about their welfare and concerns, a more understanding tolerance for legitimate difference in how we hold and express our faith, a more unified voice when we bring Catholic principles to bear on public issues of justice and ethics. This, of course, rests on Catholic identity, which could be summarized as “The Mass, the Pope, and Mary…

By “Mass,” I mean not only the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist but in the entire treasure of the sacraments that is uniquely Catholic. I use “Pope” as shorthand for the Catholic understanding of “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” that we proclaim in the ancient creeds. “Mary” I see as the supreme example of the “communion of the saints” that we profess in the same creeds…

Father Pierre DuMaine with his family.

Over the past 15 years I have often been asked for a “vision” or goal for our diocese and have generally responded: “to keep the family together.”

And so he did, so we are, and for that we are eternally grateful.

Bishop Emeritus Pierre DuMaine

  • Born: August 2, 1931, Paducah, Ky
  • Resident of California since 1942
  • Catholic elementary schools in: Paducah, Ky; Glendale, Calif. and San Francisco.
  • 1945-57: high school, college and theological studies at seminaries in the Archdiocese of San Francisco; Saint Joseph’s College, Mountain View and Saint Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park.
  • BA, 1953 – Saint Patrick’s College
  • June 15, 1957: Ordained at Saint Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco
  • 1957-58: Assistant pastor: Immaculate Heart Parish, Belmont
  • 1958-61: Graduate studies in education at the Catholic University of America; University of California Berkley
  • 1961-63: Assistant professor, The Catholic University of America
  • 1962: Ph.D., The Catholic University of America
  • 1963-65: Faculty, Serra High School, San Mateo
  • 1965-74: Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of San Francisco
  • 1968-81: General Director of Archdiocesan Educational Network, Menlo Park
  • 1972: Named Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) by Pope Paul VI
  • 1978: Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco
  • January 27, 1981: Appointed first bishop of the Diocese of San Jose
  • November 28, 1999: Retired and became Bishop Emeritus of San Jose