MOST REV. PATRICK R. COONEY
CLASS OF 1960
BISHOP EMERITUS OF GAYLORD
The Most Rev. Patrick R. Cooney, bishop emeritus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord, died Monday morning, October 15, 2012. He was 78.
He was installed as the third bishop of the diocese in 1990 and served there until his retirement in 2009. During his tenure as bishop, Cooney was responsible for leading the Catholic Church in 21 counties in Northern Michigan.
Following his retirement and the installation of Bishop Bernard A. Hebda as his replacement, Cooney moved back to his native Detroit area to be near family and friends.
“Bishop Patrick Cooney was a great servant of the church and a true father to the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Gaylord,” Hebda said in a Monday news release from the diocese. “He will be remembered as a shepherd who loved his flock, admired his fellow priests and selflessly poured himself out for the good of this local church.”
After his retirement, Cooney continued to visit the Alpine Village for special events including last year’s 40th anniversary celebration of the Diocese of Gaylord. He returned to Gaylord this summer for the ordination of the diocese’s newest priest, the Rev. Peter Wigton, and for Alpenfest after the diocese was chosen as the festival’s honored industry.
More than half of the diocesan priests currently serving in the diocese were ordained by Cooney.
“We were always so happy when Bishop Cooney was able to come back for special events in the life of the diocese,” Hebda said. “His 20 years of leadership in the diocese were a great blessing, and he will surely be missed.”
Cooney helped make Hebda’s transition as bishop to the diocese in 2009 an easy one and “wisely stepped back and gave me room when I was installed,” he said.