First Place Award for General Excellence, Catholic Press Association, 2013-2016

Retired Brooklyn Bishop Thomas V. Daily Recalled as a Missionary 'at Heart'
CNS photo/Ed Wilkinson, The Tablet
Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn applauds as he shares a laugh with President George H. Bush in 1992. Bishop Daily, who retired in 2003, died May 15 at Immaculate Conception Center's Bishop Mugavero Residence in Douglaston, Queens.

Retired Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn, who headed the diocese from 1990 until his retirement in 2003, died early May 15 at Immaculate Conception Center's Bishop Mugavero Residence in Douglaston, Queens. He was 89.

A wake will be held at the Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston, Wednesday, May 17, from 2 to 9 p.m., and then St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn, on Thursday, May 18, starting at 2 p.m. A Mass of Transferral will be offered at 7:30 p.m.

There will be a public viewing at the Immaculate Conception Center Chapel, Douglaston, Friday, May 19, 9-11 a.m. A Funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Interment to follow in the bishops’ crypt in Douglaston.

"Bishop Daily was a man who personified the Second Vatican Council's call for a preferential option for the poor," Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn said in a statement. "He ministered to indigenous people amidst poverty in Peru, women in crisis pregnancies, as well as new and often poor immigrants living in Brooklyn.

"He never acted out of malice or to further his own self-interest. At heart he was a missionary. I suspect he wished he could have remained in the missions his entire life," Bishop DiMarzio added.

Cardinal Dolan, in a statement, said he learned of Bishop Daily's death "with great sadness."

"Bishop Daily was a ‘street-priest’ in the best sense of the word, always putting the needs of the people he served at the forefront of any action he took or decision he made," the cardinal said. "Whether serving as a parish priest in Boston, a missionary in Peru, or as bishop in Palm Beach and then Brooklyn, he remained a man of the people, and his priority was always to bring those people closer to Jesus and His Church.

"My prayerful sympathies go to his family, to Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, his successor, and to the good people of the Diocese of Brooklyn, whom he loved so well.”

Bishop Daily was installed as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1990 and served during a time of racial tension and financial hardship.

As a young priest, then-Father Daily served the indigenous people of Lima, Peru, for five years. Ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston in 1952 by Cardinal Richard Cushing, he joined the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle in 1960 and moved to the Minatambo area of Lima. He often referred to his time there, ministering to the poor, as the happiest of his life.

Founded in 1958 by Cardinal Cushing, the missionary society is an international organization of diocesan missionary priests who volunteer a minimum of five years of their priestly lives to service in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. The cardinal established it in response to St. John XXIII's call for members of the Catholic Church in economically favored nations to assist their fellow Catholics in Latin America.

Born in Belmont, Mass., he graduated from Boston College, and after his studies at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Mass., he was ordained by Cardinal Cushing at Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Following ordination, he was assigned as curate for St. Ann's Church in the Wollaston neighborhood of Quincy, Mass. He remained in that post through the rest of the 1950s.

After returning to Boston after his time as a missionary, he was assigned again to St. Ann's, where he served as assistant pastor until 1971. Father Daily was appointed to the position of secretary to Cardinal Humberto S. Medeiros, who succeeded Cardinal Cushing as Boston's archbishop.

In 1975, Father Daily was ordained as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Boston. The next year, he was appointed vicar general of the archdiocese. Because of his fluency in Spanish, he was given special duties regarding the Spanish-speaking members of the archdiocese.

On July 17, 1984, Bishop Daily was appointed the first bishop of the new Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla. Among his most noteworthy actions was his leading of pro-life prayer vigils at local abortion clinics.

Bishop Daily also served as the supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus for 18 years. With the Knights, the Diocese of Brooklyn hosted Pope John Paul II for a celebration of the Mass at Aqueduct Racetrack Oct. 6,1995.

On Aug. 1, 2003, the pope accepted Bishop Daily’s resignation as bishop of Brooklyn.

As bishop emeritus, he was a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, a member of the board of the Society of St. James the Apostle in Boston and a member of the National Catholic Office for Persons With Disabilities in Washington.

Bishop Daily "served the Knights as supreme chaplain with dedication and joy from 1987 to 2005, and will be deeply missed," Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a May 15 statement.

"In life, he followed the example of the Good Shepherd and cared deeply for his diocesan flock and for the Knights of Columbus. I invite all Knights and their families to remember him in their prayers."

—CNS

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