Retired Brooklyn bishop dies from car accident

.- Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan, an auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Brooklyn diocese, died June 7 from injuries received in a May 30 car accident.

“We mourn the passing of Bishop Joseph Sullivan,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn said. “During his tenure, Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens became a nationally recognized provider of social services.”

“Even in retirement, Bishop Joe continued to serve on many boards for Catholic hospitals and health institutions. He epitomized the best of our Church’s teaching and the fundamental option for the poor. He was an outstanding priest.”

After being critically injured in a three-car collision in Syosset, on Long Island, Bishop Sullivan was airlifted to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

Bishop Sullivan was born on March 23, 1930 as one of 11 children. He was ordained a priest of the Brooklyn diocese June 2, 1956. During his priesthood, Bishop Sullivan held multiple positions within Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, including being appointed the organization's executive director in 1968.

Over his lifetime, he served on many local, state and national level Church and civic boards concerned with health and human services.

In 1979, he was elected executive vice-president of the board of trustees of Catholic Charities USA, and the following year was appointed an auxiliary bishop of his diocese. He was consecrated bishop on Nov. 24, 1980.

As auxiliary, Bishop Sullivan held the titles of Vicar for Human Services and regional bishop for the 62 parishes of Brooklyn's West Vicariate.

He served as chairman of the Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens and of the Social Development and World Peace department of the U.S. bishops' conference.

In the late 1990s, Bishop Sullivan chaired an ad hoc committee to produce a pastoral letter on charity, with which he intended “to reclaim the meaning of charity.”

He retired as auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn in 2005, shortly after his 75th birthday. 

Bishop Sullivan’s funeral Mass will be held the morning of June 12 at Saint Ephrem’s Church in Brooklyn.

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August 1, 2014

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

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