Obit: Paul, Rev. John J. (1918 - 2006)

Contact: Audrey Roedl


----Sources: Loyal TRG 08 March 2006

Paul, Rev. John J. (17 AUG 1918 - 5 MAR 2006)

The Most Rev. John Joseph Paul, 87, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of La Crosse, died Sunday, March 5, 2006 at Franciscan Skemp Mayo Health System, La Crosse, where he had been in residence since September 2004. Prior to that and since his resignation as bishop of La Crosse which was accepted on Dec. 10, 1994, he resided at Holy Cross Diocesan Center, La Crosse. Visitation will be held at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph the Workman, La Crosse, from 2-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, with evening prayer being celebrated at 7 p.m. Morning prayer will be celebrated at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 10, at the Cathedral. The Most Rev. Jerome E. Listecki, bishop of La Crosse, will preside at the celebration of evening prayer and morning prayer. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, March 10, at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph the Workman, La Crosse, beginning at 11 a.m. The Most Rev. Timothy Dolan, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, will be the main celebrant, with the Most Rev. Jerome Listecki, several other archbishops and bishops, and the priests of the Diocese of La Crosse as concelebrants. A reception will follow at the La Crosse Center.

John Joseph Paul was born on Aug. 17, 1918, to Roland and Louise (nee Gilles) Paul in La Crosse. He was the eldest son among a family of 10 children. He attended St. Joseph Elementary School and Aquinas High School, La Crosse. A bachelor of arts degree was received from Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, in 1939. Having completed a bachelor of sacred theology degree from St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, he was ordained to the priesthood by Auxiliary Bishop William Griffin on Jan. 24, 1943, in Maria Angelorum Chapel of St. Rose Convent, La Crosse. A master of education degree was conferred on him by Marquette University, Milwaukee, in 1956. His early priestly service was at St. Patrick Parish, Eau Claire, where he was assistant pastor while also assuming the role of instructor and athletic director at St. Patrick High School from 1943-50. He became principal at Regis High School in 1950, and directed the building of that school. In 1955, he was appointed the third rector of Holy Cross Seminary, La Crosse. The following year he was given the title of right reverend monsignor by Pope Pius Xll. In 1965, he was named vicar general by Bishop Frederick Freking and later in 1966, he was named the rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman and secretary of the Cival Corporation for the Diocese of La Crosse. On May 17, 1977, he was appointed to the auxiliary bishop of La Crosse and consecrated as a bishop at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral by the Most Rev. Bishop Frederick Freking, then bishop of La Crosse, on Aug. 4, 1977. He carried out a multitude of responsibilities. He taught religion to sixth and seventh grades at St. Joseph Cathedral School. He was a member of the Aquinas Foundation, the Elks, the Knights of Columbus, the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, the boards of the Red Cross and Bethany-St. Joseph Home and the country club. In 1969, he named to the Board of Diocesan Consultors. As auxiliary bishop for the Diocese, he was released from his responsibilities at the Cathedral and was named vicar for religious, director of pastoral planning, and clergy personnel director in 1977 and 1983, respectively. Upon the retirement of Bishop Frederick W. Freking, he was appointed bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse on Oct. 17, 1983. His installation as bishop on Dec. 5, 1983, was presided over by Archbishop Pio Laghi, apostolic delegate to the United States. In his initial statement as bishop he said," In my ministry as bishop of La Crosse, I will have only one desire—to do all in my power to proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel in word and deed." One of his first activities as bishop was to call the Fourth Diocesan Synod in 1986 to implement the provisions of the 1983 Revised Code of Canon Law. This called for a diocesan infrastructure of consultative bodies and commissions which would be designed around the themes of sacred worship, family life, justice and peace, and education. He cherished seeing the church in operation –laity, women and men religious, deacons, priests and bishop—praying, discussing, planning and looking to the future. The decrees of the Fourth Diocesan Synod entitled "The Bishop With His People" were promulgated on May 1, 1987. His resignation as diocesan bishop of La Crosse was accepted by Pope John Paul ll, on Dec. 10, 1994. He was then elected to diocesan administrator until his successor, Bishop Raymond Burke, was installed on Feb. 22, 1995.

Survivors include two sisters, Mary Ann Bartel, La Crosse, and Louise (Donald) Schams, Little Rock, Ark.; three brothers, Ray, La Crosse, Patrick (Arline), Des Plaines, Ill., and James, Griffith, Ind.; a sister-in-law, Carol, La Crosse; and many nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were his parents; two brothers, William and Joseph; two sisters, Ruth Gianoli and Catherine Condes.



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