When we entered St. Bernard Seminary Bishop Joseph Hogan was the Bishop of Rochester. Our first year at St. Bernard a number of us seminarians went on a retreat at Notre Dame Retreat Center in Canandaigua. Bishop Hogan was present there as well. As seminarians we thought we should introduce ourselves to the Bishop. When we did introduce ourselves Bishop Hogan asked us what dioceses for which we were preparing for the priesthood. I think he was surprised when most of said we are studying for you Bishop and the Diocese of Rochester!
This Sunday, August 27, marks the anniversary of Bishop Hogan’s death. I thank Bishop Hogan for the support and encouragement he gave me during my seminary years and throughout my early priesthood. I am sure he is praying for us all with the saints in heaven. As we mark the anniversary of his death I share with you this information about his life.
The Most Rev. Joseph L. Hogan, who served as Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester during the transitional years following Vatican Council II, died Sunday, August 27, 2001 at the age of 84. He served as Bishop of Rochester from 1969 – 1978. “Bishop Hogan had a great love for the people of our diocese that was manifested in his many achievements as our pastoral leader,” said Bishop Matthew H. Clark. “In an era of tremendous social and religious change, Bishop Hogan was a constant source of strength for the people he so loved. He was devoted to his people and tried very hard to bring the Church to them. It was truly a privilege to work with him and I found him to be a great source of inspiration as I carried out my own responsibilities. He will long be remembered as one of the truly great leaders of our community and will be missed greatly.”
A native of Lima, NY, Joseph Hogan was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop James Kearney June 6, 1942. On October 6, 1969, Pope Paul VI designated Monsignor Hogan as the seventh Bishop of Rochester, succeeding Bishop Fulton Sheen, who had recommended Hogan to the Holy Father. Bishop Hogan became the first local priest to head the diocese since Bishop John O’Hern, who served 1929-33.
Serving in the post-Vatican II era, Bishop Hogan was largely responsible for implementing many of its modifications. He became a proponent of change and appointed laypersons to personnel and financial posts within the diocesan administration. He also created the Office of Black Ministry, just the second in the country at that time. Under his watch, several ministries were developed in response to Vatican II.
In 1970, Bishop Hogan began laying the groundwork for the creation of a diocesan Pastoral Council, which would serve in an advisory capacity, and encouraged parishes to establish such a body at their level as well. The diocesan council included 40 laypersons, six priests and six nuns.
Among the first to address the declining numbers of clergy, Bishop Hogan moved to appoint nuns and laypersons as pastoral assistants to perform parish duties that could be carried out by a person other than a priest. One of his most significant accomplishments, in 1978, was the establishment of the permanent diaconate to provide additional ministerial support.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Bishop Hogan at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Bishop Matthew Clark presided and was joined by fellow bishops, clergy, women and men religious and dear loyal friends. Bishop Hogan was buried at a family plot at St. Rose of Lima Cemetery, Lima, NY. God bless you, Father Bill