Bishop Emeritus and Sixth Bishop of Brooklyn Is Dead at the Age of 89
Bishop Emeritus Thomas V. Daily, who served as the sixth Ordinary Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn from 1990 to 2003, died at 12:02 a.m. on Monday, May 15. He was 89 years old and had been in failing health.
He had been residing for the past 14 years at Bishop Mugavero Residence for retired priests in Douglaston, where he died.
A Mass of Christian Burial was scheduled for the chapel at Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston, on Friday, May 19, at 11 a.m.
Following the liturgy, he will be entombed in the Bishops’ Crypt beneath the main chapel, where the previous five Bishops of Brooklyn are interred.
A public wake was scheduled to be held at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn, on Thursday, May 18, 2-9 p.m. A Mass of transferal will be celebrated at 7:30 p.m.
“Bishop Daily was a man who personified the Second Vatican Council’s call for a preferential option for the poor,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said. “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.
Born Sept. 23, 1927 in Belmont, Mass., the future bishop attended Belmont public schools, Boston College, and St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, Mass.
He was ordained as a priest on Jan. 10, 1952. He served as a parish priest at St. Anne’s parish, Wollaston, Mass., 1952-60, and then went to serve in the missions in Peru with the St. James Society, 1960-65.
Returning to Boston, he was assigned again at St. Anne’s, Wollaston, Mass., 1965-71, before being named secretary to Boston’s Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, 1971-75.
He was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston on Feb. 11, 1975. His episcopal motto was “Dominus Lux Mea – The Lord Is My Light.”
In 1976, he was named Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston. He also served as coordinator of the Spanish Apostolate, Episcopal Moderator of the Spanish Apostolate, and was the administrator of the Archdiocese of Boston after the death of Cardinal Medeiros, Sept. 17, 1983 to March 23, 1984.
On Oct. 24, 1984, he was named the founding Bishop of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla.
Almost six years later, on Feb. 20, 1990, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the sixth Bishop of Brooklyn, succeeding Bishop Francis J. Mugavero who retired because of age. He took canonical possession of the Brooklyn Diocese on April 16, 1990, at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn. A public installation was held on April 18, 1990, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica, Sunset Park.
Bishop Daily also served as Supreme Chaplain to the Knights of Columbus; a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Church in Latin America; a member of the NCCB Committee on Missions; and a member of the Board of Trustees, of Catholic University, Washington, D.C.
One of the highlights of Bishop Daily’s tenure in Brooklyn was when he welcomed Pope John Paul II to the Diocese in October, 1995. The Holy Father celebrated Mass at Aqueduct Racetrack, Ozone Park, the only pope to celebrate Mass in this diocese.
Bishop Daily also conducted the Seventh Diocesan Synod,1996-97; instituted the Disciples in Mission evangelization program in 1998; successfully completed the “Alive in Hope” capital campaign with pledges of $80 million; announced a plan for clustering of parishes and an on-going program for clergy renewal and lay formation in 1999; celebrated the Jubilee Year 2000 with a Eucharistic celebration in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing Meadow; marked the 25th anniversary of ordination as a bishop and 10th year as Bishop of Brooklyn, February, 2000; and celebrated his 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, Jan. 10, 2002.
Among the major pastoral letters issued by Bishop Daily were: “Created in the Image of God,” on racism, 1990; “The Church’s Response to Disabled Persons,” 1992; “The Eucharist,” 1992; “The Truth in Love: a Pastoral Response to Homosexuality,” 1993; “Compelled to Teach the Gospel,” 1993; “The Image of God Revisited,” a second letter on racism, 1995; “In Praise of the Fullness of Life,” 1996; “In the Face of Death,” 1998; “In the Name of Mercy and Justice,” regarding the morality of capital punishment, 1999; “A Response on the Implementation of the Seventh Diocesan Synod, 1999.