Founding Bishop Pierre DuMaine Celebrates 40th Anniversary as a Bishop

Founding Bishop Pierre DuMaine Celebrates 40th Anniversary as a Bishop

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By Liz Sullivan

For three people in the Diocese of San Jose, Bishop Pierre DuMaine has been much more than the “Founding Bishop” of our Diocese. He’s been a boss, a fellow priest, a friend. He’s been “that kind of person.”

On June 29, the Bishop celebrates the 40th anniversary of his ordination as a Bishop, when he was ordained as Auxiliary for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, who succeeded Bishop DuMaine as the head of the Catholic Church in Santa Clara County in 1999, first met his predecessor in the Fall of 1970. At the time DuMaine was the Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Bishop McGrath was a newly ordained priest in San Francisco.

“Pierre is very shy,” said Bishop McGrath. “Not a reclusive person, just a private person. And very bright. He’s erudite. What a wonderful speaker. He’s truly a renaissance man. I have the greatest respect for him.”
After meeting, the two then each forged different paths in the

Church in San Francisco: DuMaine in education, Auxiliary Bishop and later as the founding Bishop of San Jose in 1981. McGrath served as associate pastor as a Canon lawyer and Rector of Saint Mary’s Cathedral. June 30, 1998, Bishop McGrath was named Coadjutor of the Diocese of San Jose, the successor to Bishop DuMaine.

“Bishop Pierre planted the seeds and I reaped the rewards,” said Bishop McGrath. “He loves the Diocese and wanted it to thrive. It was a very smooth transition for me as Bishop. I am incredibly grateful for being able to work alongside him. I will always be grateful for his kindness and patience with me above all else.”

Bishop McGrath cited Bishop DuMaine’s commitment to the Second Vatican Council, which took place from 1962 to 1965, as a major contributor to the success of the Diocese of San Jose.
The Council addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. It called for the renewal of consecrated (or religious) life with a revised charism for each congregation or religious order, ecumenism (closer relationships and better understanding) efforts towards dialogue with other religions and the universal call to holiness.

“His administration was looked upon as cutting-edge,” said Bishop McGrath. “He and the Diocese really stood out as inspired by the Council. Many priests and religious came south with him at the formation of the new Diocese. He set his sights on making the Diocese responsive to the needs of the people, and he kept moving forward. Pierre surrounded himself with many talented coworkers.”

Linda Tully, now Chancellor of the Diocese of San Jose, first met Bishop Pierre DuMaine in 1982 when she went to work for the Hispanic Ministry Office. In 1985, Tully became the Bishop’s Administrative Assistant. She worked for DuMaine until 1990.
“The Bishop had a precise and exacting style,” Tully recalled. “He operated a certain way where he only told you things once. He wanted his staff to be very professional, to be the face of the Diocese.”

Tully echoed Bishop McGrath’s comments about DuMaine’s vision for the new Diocese of San Jose.

“It was an exciting time in the Diocese. He had this remarkable vision for our brand-new Diocese,” she said, “He had great respect for women religious, and a high regard for family life, for human life, and for immigrants and social justice issues. He was ahead of his time in the development of lay leaders, naming many to key positions in the Chancery. Also, he had great trust in the people who worked for him.”

Nancy Greely met Bishop DuMaine in the 1960’s when the Bishop was teaching at Serra High School in San Mateo. The pair also shared a connection of both being only children. Each was there for the other at the passing of a parent.

And they have been friends ever since. Greely visits Bishop DuMaine twice a week. She is 85 and the Bishop celebrates his 87th birthday in August.

“Bishop DuMaine has always been a brilliant people person,” said Greely. “He has always been one of the kindest and nicest people I have ever met. Plus, for as long as I have known him he’s had a natural curiosity. He still has a flare for words and horrible puns.”

Bishop McGrath shared one last memory about Bishop DuMaine: “Soon after I arrived in San Jose, I was speaking with Bishop Pierre and told him that it would be likely that as founding Bishop, he would be remembered, and that the second Bishop of San Jose would probably not be remembered. Teacher that he is, Bishop Pierre shot back with “Remember that it is the Number 2 Pencil that everybody wants!”

Ad Multos Annos, Bishop DuMaine!