Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Bishop George W. Coleman
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The Most Reverend George W. Coleman was born in Fall River on February 1, 1939, the son of the late George W. and Beatrice K. (Shea) Coleman. He and his sister, Eileen, were raised in Somerset, where he and his family were members of St. Patrick's Parish.

He attended the town's Village Elementary School and from there went on to the former Msgr. James Coyle High School in Taunton, from which he graduated in 1957, and then to Holy Cross College in Worcester. He prepared for the priesthood at St. John 's Seminary in Brighton and at the North American College in Rome, where he also earned a graduate degree in sacred theology from the Gregorian University.

He was ordained a priest for the Fall River Diocese in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome on December 16, 1964.

His first assignment was as curate or associate pastor at St. Kilian's Parish, New Bedford, where he served from 1965 to 1967. He was then assigned to minister in the same capacity at the former St. Louis Parish, Fall River, until 1972, and from there to Our Lady of Victory Parish, Centerville, until 1977.

He was then appointed to direct the Diocesan Department of Education, a post he held for 8 years, overseeing Catholic schools, parish religious education and campus ministry programs in the diocese.

In 1982 he also became pastor of St. Patrick's Parish in Fall River.

He left both posts in 1985 to become pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Sandwich, where he served until 1994. From 1990 to 1994 he was dean of the Cape and Islands Deanery.

In August of 1994 former Bishop Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap., reorganized the administration of the Fall River Diocese and appointed then Father Coleman to the position of Vicar General and first Moderator of the Curia. (Curia is a collective term for the institutions, offices and individuals who assist a bishop in the pastoral and administrative governance of the diocese.)

Later that same year he was named by Pope John Paul II to the rank of Prelate of Honor with the title of Reverend Monsignor.

He was elected to serve as Administrator of the diocese by his peers on the College of Consultors following the transfer of Bishop O'Malley to the Diocese of Palm Beach in Florida in October 2002.

Six months later, on April 30, 2003, Bishop Coleman was appointed by Pope John Paul II to become the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Fall River. He is the second native son of the diocese to serve as its leader since it was established in 1904.

In his mission as Bishop of Fall River he is pastor to a community of faith of approximately 313,000 persons who worship in 87 parishes throughout southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands.