Msgr. Michael J. Hardiman, pastor of St. Patrick Church, Bay Ridge, recalled Bishop Emeritus Thomas V. Daily as a “good man and a great role model. He was one of my best teachers,” he said.
While working in education ministry, the monsignor lived at the Bishop’s Residence for seven years in the 1990s. He was among the first to meet him when he arrived in Brooklyn.
The night before the official announcement was made, Bishop Francis J. Mugavero took Bishop Daily and all of the priests living in the house to dinner. At the restaurant, they ran into Father George W. Hunt, S.J., editor of America magazine, who wanted to chat about who the next Bishop of Brooklyn might be.
Although the news had been embargoed until the following morning, Bishop Mugavero turned around and said, “This is my replacement, Bishop Thomas V. Daily.”
To which Bishop Daily added, “Well, I guess it’s six o’clock in the morning somewhere.”
Among his many fond memories of the bishop, Msgr. Hardiman recalls his funny sayings, his love of singing – one of his favorite songs was “’Neath the Crust of the Old Apple Pie” – and ability to take people off guard. Like the evening he asked the monsignor to direct the seventh synod of the diocese.
Msgr. Hardiman had simply gone downstairs – as he usually did – to say good night to the bishop, who was sitting in his office. The next thing he knew, the bishop told him, “Michael, I want you to run the synod.”
He told the bishop that he didn’t know how or what to do, but Bishop Daily assured him he’d figure it out.
The three-year process began in 1993 with preliminary meetings, and as the synod approached, there was a lot of negativity among priests, the monsignor recalled. He suggested putting it off but Bishop Daily would have none of it.
“Bishop said, ‘We’re going to have the synod. Everything’s going to be fine. You’ll do fine. We’ll all do fine. Just go ahead,” he recalled.
When the bishop told him everything would be fine, which it was, the monsignor knew that he was really saying that God was in charge, there was no need to worry.
Another time, the bishop and monsignor were having breakfast when the bishop casually asked, “Could you do me a favor?”
He asked the monsignor to take over as the temporary administrator at a local parish. Msgr. Hardiman said he would do it, and asked when he should start.
“Bishop said, ‘Well, if you leave now, you can get there by 9:30. That would be good.’”