Bishop Roger Morin passes away at age 78
BILOXI – Bishop Roger Paul Morin, third bishop of Biloxi, died today. He was 78. Bishop Morin was returning to Biloxi after vacationing with his family in Massachusetts and passed away during his flight from Boston to Atlanta.
“This is a sad day for our diocese. I was shocked to hear the news,” said Bishop Louis F. Kihneman III, bishop of Biloxi.
“Bishop Morin was a kind and gentle man who truly embodied his episcopal motto as one who walked humbly and acted justly. When I was named bishop of Biloxi in 2016, Bishop Morin was most gracious and accommodating. I am forever grateful for his support, wise counsel and, most of all, his friendship. He will be sorely missed. As we prepare to celebrate All Saints Day, we take comfort in knowing that the Communion of Saints has gained a powerful intercessor in Bishop Morin.”
Bishop Morin was installed as the third Bishop of Biloxi on April 27, 2009, at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the late Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, and Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, Metropolitan Archbishop of Mobile.
A native of Dracut, Mass., he was born on March 7, 1941, the son of Germain J. and Lillian E. Morin. He has one brother: Paul; and three sisters: Lillian “Pat” Johnson, Elaine (Ray) Joncas and Susan Spellissy. His parents and his brother James are deceased.
After high school and college studies, he earned a bachelor’s in philosophy in 1966 from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass., and continued theology studies at St. John’s for two years of graduate school. In 1967 he went to New Orleans to work in its new summer Witness program, conducted by the archdiocesan Social Apostolate.
When he returned to New Orleans in 1968, he became director of The Center, a neighborhood social service organization run by the Social Apostolate. He enrolled at Notre Dame Seminary, studying in the evenings and on Saturdays in addition to his full time position at The Center. Bishop Morin has a M.Div., Theology from Notre Dame Seminary.
He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Hannan on April 15, 1971, in his home parish of St. Therese in Dracut, Mass. His first parish assignment was at St. Henry Parish in New Orleans. In 1973, he was appointed associate director of the Social Apostolate and in 1975 became the director, responsible for the operation of nine year-round social service centers sponsored by the archdiocese. Bishop Morin holds a master of science degree in urban studies from Tulane University and completed a program in 1974 as a community economic developer. He was in residence at Incarnate Word Parish beginning in 1981 and served as pastor there from 1988 through April 2002. Bishop Morin is the Founding President of Second Harvest Food Bank.
In 1978, he was a volunteer member of Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial’s transition team dealing with federal programs and then accepted a $1 a year position as deputy special assistant to the mayor for federal programs and projects. He served the city of New Orleans until 1981, when he was appointed archdiocesan vicar for community affairs, with responsibility over nine agencies: Catholic Charities, Social Apostolate, human relations, alcoholics’ ministry, Apostleship of the Sea, cemeteries, disaster relief, hospitals and prisons.He was named a monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1985.
One of the highlights of his priesthood came in 1987 when he directed the archdiocese’s preparations for Saint Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to New Orleans. The visit involved thousands of community volunteers and coordination among national, state and local religious and political leaders. He also coordinated the events of the bicentennial of the archdiocese in 1993. In 1995, Bishop Morin received the Weiss Brotherhood Award presented by the National Conference of Christians and Jews for his service in the field of human relations.
Bishop Morin was a member of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development 2005-2013, and served as Chairman 2008-2010. During that time, he also served as a member of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and the Committee for National Collections. In 2011, Bishop Morin received the Sister Margaret Cafferty Development of People Award from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for his work with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Bishop Morin served on the Jesuit Social Research Institute Board, Loyola University, New Orleans.
Bishop Morin was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans on February 11, 2003, and his Episcopal ordination was on April 22, 2003. He served as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of New Orleans 2001-2009. Bishop Morin was named Bishop of Biloxi by Pope Benedict XVI on March 2, 2009. Bishop Morin’s episcopal motto is “Walk Humbly and Act Justly.” Upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75 on March 7, 2016, Bishop Morin submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Francis. The Holy Father accepted his resignation on December 16, 2016.
A visitation for Bishop Morin will be held at the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Wednesday evening, Nov. 6, 2019 from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm with a 7:00 pm Vigil of the Deceased with a recitation of the Rosary to follow. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 at 10:30 am where friends may visit from 8:30 am until Mass time. The address of the Cathedral is 870 Howard Avenue, Biloxi, MS 39530. Interment will follow in the Bishops’ Cemetery and Memorial Prayer Garden.