By Liz Sullivan
As Bishop Patrick J. McGrath was preparing to retire as the second Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose this past spring, he took time out to share some thoughts on the man he succeeded – Bishop Pierre DuMaine.
Bishop DuMaine died on June 13 at the age of 87. He was the Founding Bishop of San Jose when it was formed from the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1981. DuMaine served until he retired in November 1999.
“I was very fortunate to work with him,” said Bishop McGrath. “He was very welcoming to me and always supported me. I will always be grateful for that. He was an exceptionally bright man. He was an introvert, but I was able to communicate with him very well.”
Both men were ordained for the Archdiocese of San Francisco and served there as Auxiliary Bishops.
“Bishop DuMaine was educated in the old system, before Vatican II (which resulted in great reforms in the Catholic Church),” said Bishop McGrath. “He was not afraid to expand on the teachings of the Council. He took the council very seriously. He was very smart because he surrounded himself with smart people.”
In retirement, Bishop DuMaine remained a source of support for his successor.
“He was always willing to give me advice when I asked for it,” said Bishop McGrath. “He didn’t force it on me, but I always knew he was there when I needed him. I am very grateful for that.
Bishop DuMaine, who earned a Doctorate in Education, always reminded Bishop McGrath that the second Bishop was the most important.
“He told me it was always the number two pencil that was most important,” said Bishop McGrath with a laugh. “It’s been difficult seeing him age. He never complained about it. He just took it in stride.”