Bishop Bullock dies of cancer; had headed Madison, Des Moines dioceses

By | April 5, 2011

His funeral Mass was scheduled for April 7 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Madison.

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee was to preside. Bishop Paul J. Swain of Sioux Falls, S.D., former vicar general of the Diocese of Madison, was to deliver the homily.

“He was an ideal predecessor for me and I could not be more grateful for that,” Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison said in a statement. “The impact of his labors here bears fruit to this day, and I’m thankful to have known and served with him. Please pray with me that he may be granted by the Almighty those gifts which served as his three-word episcopal motto: Grace, Mercy, Peace.”

Bishop Richard E. Pates, the current bishop of Des Moines, recalled Bishop Bullock as a national leader in establishing a policy addressing sexual abuse in 1988 and praised him for the creation of two outreach efforts of Catholic Charities — St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter and St. Mary Family Center  – and for coordinating the purchase and establishment of the Catholic Pastoral Center in Des Moines.

“Both Bishop Bullock and I were from the Twin Cities and were blessed with a long-standing friendship,” Bishop Pates said. “The bishop was a dedicated churchman, capable of making difficult decisions all the while enjoying a tremendous sense of humor.”

Msgr. Frank Bognanno, who served as a chancellor for Bishop Bullock, said he would be remembered for his pastoral letters on the sacrament of reconciliation and end-of-life issues.

William H. Bullock was born April 13, 1927, on a farm in Maple Lake, Minn., to Ann C. (Raiche) and Loren W. Bullock. He was one of six children. He attended Maple Lake Grade School in Maple Lake and Annandale High School in Annandale, Minn.

He attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., before joining the U.S. Navy in 1944 to serve in World War II. He finished his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1948 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and later returned for a master’s degree in liturgy and religious education in 1962.

He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis June 7, 1952, by Auxiliary Bishop James Byrne at St. Paul Cathedral in Minneapolis. He was associate pastor at three parishes before serving from 1957 to 1967 as dean of resident cadets, religious instructor and chairman of the religious education department at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, Minn. He was headmaster from 1968 to 1971.

Pope John Paul II named him an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese June 3, 1980. He was ordained a bishop on Aug. 12, 1980, at St. Paul Cathedral. He served for seven years under Archbishop John R. Roach.

On Feb. 10, 1987, Bishop Bullock was appointed the seventh bishop of Des Moines and was installed on April 2, 1987. In 1993, Bishop Bullock was appointed bishop of Madison and was installed June 15 of that year.

He served the diocese for 10 years, working past age 75, when bishops are required by canon law to turn in their resignation. Pope John Paul accepted his resignation May 23, 2003. He continued to preside at confirmations, give talks and attend parish and diocesan events through the end of his life.

Although originally from Minnesota, Bishop Bullock considered Wisconsin his home. He arranged to be buried in Madison at Resurrection Cemetery in a section of graves for the next 12 bishops of Madison.

“But when the new cathedral is built with a crypt, I am to be buried there,” he said in a 2010 interview with the Catholic Herald, Madison diocesan newspaper. “I always kid the priests that it will be easier for them to visit me when they come to the cathedral for chrism Mass, ordinations and other diocesan events. I wink at them and say, ‘I’ll leave the light on.'”

Bishop Bullock is survived by two sisters, Elizabeth Bullock and Adelaide Bullock.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top