Tenth Bishop of Portland
Bishop Joseph J. Gerry, O.S.B. was born in Millinocket, Maine on September 12, 1928. He graduated from Stearns High School in Millinocket, Maine in 1945 and entered Saint Anselm College the same year. In 1950 he received the B.A. degree from Saint Anselm College and then pursued four years of theological studies at the abbey seminary. In 1955 he received the M.A. degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto and in 1959 a Ph.D. in philosophy from Fordham University.
He was a member of the faculty of Saint Anselm College from 1958-1986, teaching philosophy and humanities. In addition, he held a number of administrative positions at the college, including Acting Academic Dean (1958-59), Academic Dean (1971-72) and Chancellor of the college from 1972 to 1986. He was a member of the Governing Board of the College since 1961 and served as a member of the National Advisory Council on Equality of Educational Opportunity from 1973-1976.
Bishop Joseph professed first vows as a member of Saint Anselm Abbey on July 2, 1948, following his novitiate at Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He was ordained to the priesthood in St. Joseph's Cathedral, Manchester, New Hampshire by Bishop Brady on June 12, 1954. In 1959 he was named Subprior of the Abbey and later, Prior, in 1963, a position he held until 1971. On January 6, 1972 he was elected third abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey, a position he held until his ordination as Auxiliary Bishop of Manchester. On February 21, 1989 he was installed as the 10th Bishop of Portland. The principal celebrant was Bernard Cardinal Law, Archbishop of Boston. The event took place at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.
Bishop Joseph Gerry has given numerous conferences and retreats in the United States and Canada. As the executive secretary of the Ad Hoc Committee of the American-Cassinese Federation which produced the renewal document, "Renew and Create," in 1969, he was instrumental in bringing the renewal of Vatican Council II to bear on American monastic communities. As Dean and as Chancellor of Saint Anselm College he has written and spoken frequently on the need for Christian values to permeate a strong core curriculum if college students are to be given a vision for the future.
In February 1988 he was named Episcopal Moderator of the Secretariat for Interreligious Relations of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The secretariat promotes relationships between the NCCB and the leadership of religious traditions other than Jewish and Christian. He is also a member of the NCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (BCEIA).
In July 1989 Bishop Joseph was appointed to the NCCB Committee of Bishops of Catholic Colleges and University Presidents. In October 1990, he was appointed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He also served on the Commission of Pluralism for the University of Maine Systems.
Additionally, Bishop Joseph serves on the NCCB Commission of Bishops and Scholars since 1992, as a Trustee of Pope John XXIII National Seminary since 1993 and Chairman of the CARA Board since 1991.
In February of 1989, the Saint Bede Press published his book, EVER PRESENT LORD.