The oldest Catholic bishop in the world, Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety, passed away last week at the age of 104. The sad event came to pass 77 years after his ordination as a priest and 50 years after he was ordained as a bishop of Newark.
John J. Myers, the Archbishop of Newark, spoke of the late bishop as a "remarkable Churchman whose love for the people of God was always strong and ever-growing."
"He served as shepherd of this great Archdiocese during a time of spiritual reawakening in the years after the Second Vatican Council, and a time of deep financial difficulties. He very carefully led the Church, her people and institutions through those challenges," Myers said.
Archbishop Gerety was born on the 19th of July, 1912, in the U.S. state of Connecticut. Born to Peter L. and Charlotte Daly Gerety, he was the eldest of nine sons. After a childhood spent attending public schools, winning scholastic honours, and captaining the football team, he went on to the join the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. New Jersey Transportation Department. Thereafter, he entered the St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut. He was then sent abroad to study at the St. Sulpice Seminary in Issy, France. On the 29th of June, 1939, at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, he was ordained as a priest for his services in the Archdiocese of Hartford.
During his priesthood, he actively participated in the civil rights movements, and was even a part of the March on Washington led by Martin Luther King. Eventually, in 1974, he was named Archbishop of Newark by Pope Paul VI.
The renowned and exemplary Archbishop passed away peacefully, under the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor at St. Joseph's Home for the Elderly in Totowa, New Jersey. He is survived by his nephews and nieces. Catholic News Agency reports that with Gerety's death, Archbishop Bernardino Piñera Carvallo of Chile, aged 101, is now the oldest living bishop.