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Pope John Paul II has tapped another Boston auxiliary to lead another local church. The Holy Father named Bishop Richard J. Malone, Boston auxiliary and South Regional Bishop, as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Portland, Maine. The appointment was announced on Feb. 10 in Rome and in the United States at the Apostolic Nunciature, Washington, D.C.
Bishop Malone will be installed as the new leader of the Pine Tree state’s Catholic family of more than 214,000 on March 31. The installation Mass will be at the historic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. As metropolitan archbishop, Archbishop O’Malley will preside.
A native of Salem, where he was born on March 19, 1946, Bishop Malone was raised in Beverly and was a communicant at St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish. He attended the parish grammar school and St. John’s Preparatory School, Danvers. He entered the archdiocesan seminaries and was ordained by Cardinal Medeiros at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on May 20, 1972.
The bishop’s parents, Samuel and Helen Lindbloom Malone, are both deceased. His only sibling, sister Harriet, now teaches at one of his alma maters, St. John’s Prep.
Father Malone’s first priestly assignment was to the large parish of St. Patrick, Stoneham. After two years of parish work he began a long ministry in education. He taught at St. Clement High School in Somerville and later served as both chaplain and teacher at Xaverian Brothers High School, Westwood.
In 1979 he was named to the faculty of St. John’s Seminary where he served for 11 years in various capacities as professor, academic dean and registrar. He also taught at Emmanuel College. During that same time Father Malone earned a doctorate in theology at Boston University and a licentiate in Sacred Theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology.
Cardinal Medeiros named him chaplain at Harvard-Radcliffe Student Center, and he served there until being named Director of the Office of Religious Education for the archdiocese. He added the Secretary of Education’s position to his long list of service. It was while he was serving in the latter two assignments that he was named Boston’s 29th auxiliary bishop.
Pope John Paul II named him titular bishop of Aptuca and auxiliary bishop of Boston on Jan. 27, 2000, and Cardinal Law ordained him to the episcopacy on March 1, 2000 at the cathedral. Since then, Bishop Malone has served as bishop of the archdiocese’s South Region.
The appointment to Maine will be the first assignment outside of the archdiocese for Bishop Malone. Although he is the first bishop of the archdiocese to be named to Portland, he is not the first Boston priest to be sent north.
Maine’s second bishop and the United States’ first black bishop, James A. Healey was the first chancellor of the diocese of Boston and served as priest of the diocese for more than 20 years when he was named to Portland in 1875. Bishop Healey’s successor at Portland was Bishop William O’Connell, who came to Maine from duties as rector of Rome’s North American College and returned to the Archdiocese of Boston in 1906 as coadjutor archbishop and eventually as archbishop. He was named Boston’s first cardinal in 1911.
The third Bostonian named to Portland was, like Bishop Malone, also a native of Salem and a priest who served the Boston archdiocese in Catholic education, Bishop Louis Walsh. He was named Maine’s fourth bishop in 1906 and served until 1924.
The Portland diocese encompasses over 33,000 square miles of the state of Maine. Thus, in his new diocese Bishop Malone will have a territory 13 times the size of the entire Archdiocese of Boston with about half the number of Catholics as in the South Region where he served as regional bishop.
Further coverage of the installation of Bishop Malone and more information about his new diocese will appear in the Pilot following the March 31 ceremony.