Who is Bishop John McCarthy?
On the Issues:
Despite being born and raised in Texas, John was and is 100% Irish. Three of John’s four grandparents were born in Ireland, and while his mother, Grace O’Brien, was born in the United States, she grew up in the very Irish section of lower Manhattan.
Did John always plan on becoming a priest? Not always. His high school classmates remember him as school editor, president of the student council and president of the senior class, with a very active dating life. However, in his senior year, John realized he needed to start thinking seriously about his life plan, and he had, indeed, given a lot of thought to the priesthood. John saw the priesthood as “a happy life, with unique opportunities to help others, to support the little guy.” He began studies the summer after high school at St. Mary Seminary, and with the passage of each year, steadily confirmed that the priesthood was his true calling.
Fr. John was concerned by the fact that while every parish without exception had organized programs on worship and education, they did not necessarily have anything structured to address their local social needs. Fr. John has always believed that the nature of the parish is to “make Jesus present at this particular place, in this particular time.” Fr. John likes to break down the work of Jesus into three categories- worship, teaching and the lessening of pain- and he feels strongly that all three of these activities should be made real and concrete in every single parish. Therefore, Fr. John considered a parish to be incomplete if it did not have a defined, structured and funded social component. John carried this belief forward throughout his ministry, aiming to see a program for social concerns established at every single parish.
After seven years leading the TCC, John was appointed by Pope John Paul II to be the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, where he spent the next seven years. John’s special interests were in the world of ecumenism, communications and the development of social ministry in the approximately 150 parishes in the diocese.