Episcopal succession — global and local

For many people, the term “episcopal succession” brings to mind a list of the bishops who served their diocese from its establishment to the present time. A concise succession list for a diocese will provide the names of the diocesan bishops in chronological order, noting their dates of service. It may also list those bishops who served as coadjutor or auxiliary bishops. While this type of succession list provides basic information about the leadership of a diocese, it answers only two questions: who and when. When biographical information about each bishop is added, we begin to learn more about the diocese and its bishops. As more information is added, the history of the diocese becomes alive for us -- its bishops, priests, religious, laity, diocesan institutions, and apostolates.

When an auxiliary bishop is appointed, he has two titles: auxiliary bishop of the (arch) diocese which he serves and titular bishop of a former diocese. In our time, the largest number of titular bishops are auxiliary bishops (active and retired), apostolic nuncios, and apostolic vicars.

Most titular sees are located in North Africa, the Holy Land, and nearby countries. Others are located in Europe, North America, and South America.

Succession lists for titular sees provide us with a global view of the Church, for their occupants have served in varied positions and on many continents.

Bishop-elect John A. Dooher has been named titular bishop of Theveste (the Latin name of his titular see -- Teveste is its Italian name), while Bishop-elect Robert F. Hennessey has been appointed titular bishop of Tigias (Latin; Tigia is the Italian name).


Theveste, modern-day Tebessa, is located in Algeria, in the former Roman Province of Numidia, approximately 40 kilometres from the border with Tunisia. It is a city rich in history. The ruins of the Basilica of St. Crispine are found outside the old city. The basilica, dedicated to a local saint, dates from the end of the fourth century.

Bishop-elect Dooher has 12 predecessors in this titular see. These 12 bishops served the Church on six continents and they spanned 250 years, 1756 to 2006.

Bishop Franz Verbeck, a Conventual Franciscan, held the see from 1746 to 1756 and was auxiliary bishop of Münster, Germany. Bishop Gabriel Wodzynski served as titular bishop of Theveste and coadjutor bishop of Smolensk, Russia, from 1759 to 1763. The coadjutor bishop of the Latin-rite Diocese of Kiev, Ukraine, Bishop Kasper Kazimierz Kolumna Cieciszowski, held the see of Theveste from 1775 to 1784.

The next occupant of Theveste was Bishop Guglielmo Stagno, Vicar General of Messina, Sicily (1787-1801). His two successors were Spanish Dominicans who served in China. Bishop Roque José Carpena held the see of Theveste from 1801 to 1849. He was successively coadjutor and vicar Apostolic of Fokien. Bishop Justo Alfonso Aguilar was Titular Bishop of Theveste from 1851 to 1874. He was Coadjutor of Fokien from 1851 until his resignation in 1865.

From 1884 to 1887, Capuchin Bishop Domenico Cocchia served as titular bishop of Theveste and apostolic administrator of Otranto. Bishop Jean Joseph Hirth, of the Missionaries of Africa, held the see of Theveste from 1889 to 1931. During that time, he was vicar apostolic of Victoria Nyanza (Uganda), Southern Nyanza (Tanzania), and Kivu (Rwanda).

Bishop Aristides de Araújo Porto held the see while he was coadjutor bishop of Montes Claros, Brazil (1931 to 1943). The next occupant of the see was an American, Bishop Stephen John Kocisko, while he was auxiliary bishop of the Ruthenian Byzantine Exarchate of Pittsburgh (1956 to 1963). The auxiliary bishop of Cuzco, Peru, Bishop Elias Prado Tello, was titular bishop of Theveste from 1963 to 2002. Auxiliary Bishop Mark Benedict Coleridge of Melbourne, Australia, held the see of Theveste from 2002 to June 19, 2006.


According to the annuario pontificio, Tigias is the present day Henchir -- Taus in the oasis of Kriz, in North Africa. Bishop-elect Hennessey has eight predecessors in this titular see. They served the Church on four continents, beginning in 1939.

The first occupant of the titular see of Tigias was Salesian Bishop Giovanni Lucato, who held the see from 1939 to 1948 while he held the position of vicar apostolic of Derna, Libya. Assumptionist Bishop George Andrew Beck was titular bishop of Tigias from 1948 to 1950, serving at the same time as coadjutor bishop of Brentwood, England. Dutch-born Bishop Willem van Bekkum, a member of the Divine Word Missioners, held the see of Tigias from 1951 to 1961 as vicar apostolic of Ruteng, Indonesia.

The next three bishops of Tigias were Americans. Bishop Gerald Vincent Mc Devitt held the see while he was auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia (1962 to 1980). San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Francis Walsh was titular bishop of Tigias from 1981 to 1987. Scranton Auxiliary Bishop Francis Xavier Di Lorenzo held the see of Tigias from 1988 to 1994. From Oct. 1993 to Oct. 1994, he was also apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Honolulu.

Capuchin Bishop Stanislaw Padewski, auxiliary bishop of Kamyanets-Podilskyi, Ukraine, was titular bishop of Tigias from 1995 to 2002. Auxiliary Bishop of Bordeaux Charles Hertzog held the see of Tigias from 2002 to 2005.

Bishop-elect Hennessey has a sacramental connection to one of his predecessors in Tigias: Bishop Gerald Vincent McDeviit served as the co-ordaining bishop of Bishop Humberto Sousa Medeiros, it was Cardinal Humberto Medeiros who ordained Bishop-elect Hennessey to the priesthood on May 20, 1978. He also a connection to his immediate predecessor, Bishop Charles Hertzog who served as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Bordeaux. Those familiar with Boston’s first bishop, Jean Lefebvre de Cheverus will recall that he was the archbishop of Bordeaux from 1826 to his death in 1836.

It is interesting to note in passing that both Bishop-elect Dooher and Bishop-elect Hennessey have a Capuchin bishop among their predecessors in their respective titular sees.

The Bishops of Theveste

John Anthony Dooher -- Auxliary of Boston -- Oct. 12, 2006.

> Mark Benedict Coleridge -- Auxiliary of Melbourne -- May 3, 2002 - June 19, 2006 promoted to the archiepiscopal see of Canberra.

> Elias Prado Tello -- Auxiliary of Cuzco -- Nov. 14, 1963 - Feb. 14, 2002+

> Stephen John Kocisko -- Auxiliary of Pittsburgh of the Ruthenians -- July 20, 1956 - July 6, 1963 -- transferred to Passaic of the Ruthenians; transferred to Pittsburgh of the Ruthenians, Dec. 22, 1967, named metropolitan archbishop of Munhall of the Ruthenians, Feb. 21, 1969, title changed to archeparchy (Archdiocese) of Pittsbugh of the Ruthenians, March 11, 1977; retired, June 12, 1991, died March 7, 1995.

> Aristides de Araújo Porto -- coadjutor of Montes Claros -- May 8, 1931 - July 20, 1943 -- succeeded to the See of Montes Claros, died April 7, 1947.

> Jean Joseph Hirth, WF, (M.Afr.) -- vicar apostolic of Victoria Nyanza Dec. 4, 1889 -- vicar apostolic of Southern Nyanza July 13, 1894 -- vicar apostolic of Kivu Dec. 12, 1912, resigned Oct. 25, 1920, died Jan. 6, 1931.

> Domenico Cocchia, OFM Cap. -- apostolic administrator of Otranto -- Aug. 8, 1884 - May 23, 1887; bishop of Ascoli Satriano e Cerignola May 23, 1887 -- died Nov. 7, 1900.

> Justo Alfonso Aguilar, OP -- coadjutor of the vicar apostolic of Fokien -- 1851 - 1865; resigned as coadjutor in 1865; died Dec. 12, 1874.

> Roque José Carpena, OP -- coadjutor of the vicar apostolic of Fokien -- March 31, 1801 - Dec. 30, 1849+

> Guglielmo Stagno -- Vicar General of Messina -- Jan. 29, 1787 - 1801+

> Kasper Kazimierz Kolumna Cieciszowski -- Coadjutor of Kiev -- May 29, 1775 - Aug. 7, 1784 -- Bishop of Kiev Aug. 7, 1784; Bishop of Luck and Zhytomir Nov. 17, 1798; archbishop of Mohilev June 23, 1828; died April 28, 1831.

> Gabriel Wodzynski -- Coadjutor of Smolensk -- April 4, 1759; Bishop of Smolensk Jan. 29, 1763; died in 1788.

> Franz Bernardin Verbeck, OFM Conv. -- Auxiliary of Münster -- Sept. 19, 1746 - Dec. 1756+

The Bishops of Tigias

Robert Francis Hennessey -- Auxiliary of Boston -- Oct. 12, 2006.

> Charles Hertzog -- Auxiliary of Bordeaux -- Oct. 24, 2002 - Nov. 24, 2005+

> Stanislaw Padewski, OFM Cap. -- Auxiliary of Kamyanets-Podilskyi -- April 13, 1995 -May 4, 2002 -- transferred to the See of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia.

> Francis Xavier Di Lorenzo -- Auxiliary of Scranton -- Jan. 21, 1988 - Oct. 4, 1994 -- named Apostolic Administrator of Honolulu Oct. 12, 1993; Bishop of Honolulu Oct. 4, 1994; Bishop of Richmond March 31, 2004.

> Daniel Francis Walsh -- Auxiliary of San Francisco -- June 30, 1981 - June 3, 1987 -- transferred to the See of Reno-Las Vegas; bishop of Las Vegas March 21, 1995; bishop of Santa Rosa April 11, 2000.

> Gerald Vincent Mc Devitt -- Auxiliary of Philadelphia -- June 22, 1962 - Sept. 29, 1980+

> Willem van Bekkum, SVD -- vicar apostolic of Ruteng -- March 3, 1951 - Jan. 3, 1961 -- transferred to the See of Ruteng; resigned March 10, 1972; died Feb. 11, 1998.

> George Andrew Beck, AA -- coadjutor of Brentwood -- Aug. 7, 1948 - Jan. 23, 1950 -- succeeded to the See of Brentwood; bishop of Salford Nov. 28, 1955; archbishop of Liverpool Jan. 29, 1964; resigned Feb. 7, 1976; died Sept. 13, 1978.

> Giovanni Lucato, SDB -- Vicar Apostolic of Derna (Libya) -- Sept. 13, 1939 - June 21, 1948; Bishop of Isernia e Venafro; died May 1, 1962.