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The Diocese Bids Farewell to Founding Bishop Pierre DuMaine

Bishop Oscar Cantú and Bishop Emeritus Patrick J. McGrath preside at the Funeral Mass held for Bishop Pierre DuMaine on June 27 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph.

By Liz Sullivan

Bishop Pierre DuMaine’s Episcopal Motto was “Gaudium et Spes” or “Joy and Hope.”

“For Bishop DuMaine, that was more than a motto; it became a way of life,” said Monsignor J. Patrick Browne during his homily. “This community will continue to make those words ring true.”

Those feelings were felt throughout the Funeral Mass held for Bishop DuMaine on June 27 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Oscar Cantú and concelebrated by recently retired Bishop Patrick J. McGrath.

DuMaine, the founding Bishop of the Diocese of San José, passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 13 at the age of 87.

Also in attendance were: Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archdiocese of Los Angeles; William Cardinal Levada, Archdiocese of San Francisco; and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone,  Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Roland Pierre DuMaine, son of Nolan Amidee DuMaine and Mary Eulalia Burch, was born in Paducah, Kentucky on August 2, 1931.

After attending Saint Mary’s Academy in Paducah and Holy Family School in Glendale, California, he entered Saint Joseph’s College Seminary, Mountain View, and Saint Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park.

Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco on June 15, 1957, Father DuMaine served as assistant pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Belmont before he was assigned to graduate studies at the Catholic University of America, from 1958-1961.

After receiving a doctoral degree in education, he served on the faculty of Catholic University and Serra High School in San Mateo, and was Archdiocesan Assistant Superintendent of Schools and Superintendent from 1965 until 1978, having been named a Prelate of Honor of his Holiness (Monsignor) in 1972.

Bishop DuMaine was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco on June 29, 1978, serving in that capacity until March 18, 1981, when he became the founding Bishop of the Diocese of San José.

Amidst great difficulties, Bishop DuMaine succeeded in the largest privately funded renewal project of downtown San José; the restoration of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph. These efforts insured that the Cathedral Basilica survived the 1989 earthquake and became what it is to this very day; the crown jewel of downtown San José.

“Bishop DuMaine knew beginning a new Diocese was not an easy task. He knew it was not a one man show. He trusted those around him and they in him,” said Browne.

Before the conclusion of the Mass, Bishop McGrath, who succeeded DuMaine as Bishop in 1999, offered a reflection about the man and priest he knew well.

“I have known Pierre for more than 50 years, he was always very kind and patient with me. He always referred to me as his unworthy successor. I thought it was a joke, although at times I wondered. He was kind and compassionate. Pierre dealt with everything with great courage and valor. I am going to miss Pierre. I already miss him. The last seven years have been difficult as he surrendered himself to God. It has been kind of a long good-bye.”

“Knowing Pierre, right now he is looking at his watch, or whatever they have in Heaven, and is saying, ‘For God’s sake, PJ, move on; I have people to see and places to go, but not before I give thanks to God for him touching our lives.”

“I ask the Lord now to take him home and reward him for his great, great goodness.”