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Most Rev. Patrick Joseph McGrath

Deceased: 2023-05-07

Diocese: SAN JOSE

CSM Graduation Year: 1977

Most Reverend Patrick Joseph McGrath
June 11, 1945 – May 7, 2023

Bishop Patrick McGrath was born in Dublin, Ireland, where he attended Catholic schools of the Sisters of the Holy Faith and Marist Fathers. He entered Saint John Seminary, Waterford, Ireland, in 1964 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1970, at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Waterford, Ireland, for ministry in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. In 1977, he earned his doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome and served as Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese for nine years. In 1986, he became Rector and Pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco. Ordained Auxiliary Bishop by Archbishop John R. Quinn on January 25, 1989, he served the Archdiocese as Vicar for Clergy, Moderator of the Curia, and Vicar for Parishes.

On June 30, 1998, Pope John Paul II named him as Coadjutor to the Bishop of San José. Bishop McGrath was formally received into the Diocese at a Mass of Welcome on September 17, 1998. Upon the retirement of Bishop Pierre DuMaine on November 27, 1999, Bishop McGrath became the second bishop of San José. Bishop P.J. was loved by so many who knew him, and the Diocese was blessed by his Episcopal ministry as our bishop for 20 years until his retirement on May 1, 2019, when he became Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese San José.

Bishop McGrath’s kindness and care for others were the hallmark of his life and vital to his ministry as priest and bishop. He was committed to the work of the Second Vatican Council and to its role in the life of the Church. He had great love and respect for the priests, deacons, religious men and women, and the laity of the Diocese of San José, with whom he worked collaboratively to engender the spirit of the Council of Vatican II. Bishop McGrath worked together frequently with Silicon Valley’s leaders to draw attention and care to causes such as the treatment of immigrants and separation of families at the border; the unjust treatment of DREAMERS who were brought to the U.S. as children; interfaith collaboration; steps to address the harms of clergy sexual abuse; and other matters of social justice and Catholic values.

The bishop used to joke, “You will miss me when I am gone,” and so we do – more than he could imagine. Bishop P.J. is survived by his brother, Tom; his sisters-in-law, Alacoque and Frances; nieces, Siobhan, Aileen, and Niamh; and nephews, Patrick and Derek, five grandnieces, five grandnephews and cousins and his life-long friend, Msgr. Daniel Whelton, and many, many dear friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Patrick and Eileen McGrath, and his brother, Sean.