Msgr. Edmund J. Whalen has been appointed vicar for clergy of the archdiocese. The assignment became effective Jan. 1, the Cardinal’s Office announced.
Msgr. Whalen succeeds retired Auxiliary Bishop Gerald T. Walsh, who has been named vicar for clergy emeritus.
Msgr. Whalen had served as principal of Msgr. Farrell High School on Staten Island since 2010.
Cardinal Dolan, in an interview with CNY at his residence on Dec. 31, said: “Msgr. Whalen is one of our best known and admired priests. I need him very much as vicar for clergy, which is a very pivotal role in the governance of the archdiocese.”
Along with the vicar general and the chief financial officer, the vicar for clergy “would be the leader in the archdiocese with whom I would work most closely,” the cardinal said.
Referring to Msgr. Whalen, the cardinal said, “I’ll be honored to have him on. I think the priests will be happy.
“He knows our priests, they know him. He’s a very fair, respected, compassionate, kind of streetwise priest. He’s going to be a very good vicar for clergy.”
The cardinal said Msgr. Whalen has done “a sterling job” as principal of Msgr. Farrell, “an extraordinarily prestigious boys’ high school” and has served as “a successful associate pastor and pastor.”
He was pastor of St. Joseph and St. Thomas parish, Staten Island, 2007-2010 and St. Benedict’s, the Bronx, 2001-2007. He served as rector of St. John Neumann Residence, then in the Bronx, 1998-2001, and earlier was professor of moral theology and vice rector of development and related activities at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie.
He was priest-secretary to Cardinal John O’Connor, 1990-1992, and served on the faculty of Msgr. Farrell, 1987-1990. He was parochial vicar of Resurrection parish in Rye, 1985-1987.
Born on Staten Island, he studied for the priesthood at Cathedral College and Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained in 1984 by Cardinal O’Connor. He holds a licentiate and doctorate in moral theology from St. Alphonsus Academy in Rome. He was named a monsignor in 1999.
As CNY reported in September 2017, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Walsh, who reached the normal retirement age of 75 in April of that year. Bishop Walsh subsequently accepted a reappointment by Cardinal Dolan as vicar for clergy for one year.
“He had been serving as vicar for clergy splendidly,” Cardinal Dolan said. “He has a great balance of knowledge, competence, wisdom and compassion.”
The cardinal conceded that the priests will be “sorry to lose Bishop Walsh” but that he looked forward “to his continued service” as vicar for clergy emeritus.
“The bishop has a great tradition of checking on our sick priests, our elder priests, our priests in transition, like new pastors and the newly ordained. We need a guy to do that.”