Most Rev. Frank Joseph Rodimer, D.D., J.C.D.
Born at Rockaway, New Jersey, October 25, 1927; Ordained a priest, May 19, 1951; Ordained Sixth Bishop of Paterson, February 28, 1978. Retired June 1, 2004.
Bishop Rodimer's ministry to the people of the Paterson Diocese began on May 19, 1951, when he was ordained to the priesthood in St. John's Cathedral here. Born and raised in Rockaway, he attended Seton Hall Prep School, South Orange; St. Charles College, Catonsville, Maryland; St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland; Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington; and Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. where he received the degree of Licentiate in Sacred Theology in June 1951. He returned to the university after his ordination for graduate studies. He received his doctorate in canon law in 1954.
In 1951 at the time of Bishop Rodimer's ordination, he was part of a class of seven who would become priests of the Paterson Diocese - Msgr. Leo Carey, Msgr. John Corr, Father John Heusser, Msgr. Brendan Madden, Msgr. Vincent Puma and Msgr. Stanislaus Schinski.
"It's an honor to have serve in the same diocese with these men as a priest and as a bishop. This has been a very special blessing," said Bishop Rodimer.
When Bishop Rodimer became the sixth bishop of the diocese on Feb. 28, 1978, he had the unique distinction of being installed as the only priest of the Paterson Diocese to have ever been raised to the episcopacy.
His entire 60-year priesthood ministry has been in the Paterson Diocese and he has known every bishop of the diocese personally. When he decided to be a priest, it was the Paterson's first bishop, Bishop Thomas McLaughlin, from whom he had to ask permission to become a seminarian.
During his years as a priest before becoming bishop, he served as parochial vicar of St. Brendan Parish in Clifton, Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Sparta and St. Paul Parish in Clifton, where he was pastor for 10 years until his appointment as bishop.
On a diocesan level as a priest, Bishop Rodimer served as assistant chancellor of the diocese and secretary of the tribunal. He served as the first diocesan director of Sacred Liturgy and he was a member of the editorial board of "The Advocate," the Newark Archdiocese's newspaper which then served the Paterson Diocese. He served Bishop James Navagh as secretary and attended the Second Vatican Council with him in June 1963. He was appointed diocesan chancellor in December 1964 and in April 1966 he was appointed secretary of the diocesan board of consultors. He also served as chairman of buildings and sites.
As bishop, he served as leader of the diocese for 26 years until his retirement in May 2004. During his ministry as bishop, he established 12 new parishes, ordained 91 priests and 179 permanent deacons and confirmed more than 100,000 Catholics.
He committed the diocese to the full implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. He likewise established the policy that the Sacrament of Confirmation be administered to young people in their sophomore or junior year of high school.
During the 1980s, Bishop Rodimer established the three-year fund-raising campaign "Share His Vision," which raised $3 million for purchase of land in the diocese for future parish sites and major capital repairs to parish buildings in urban areas of the diocese. He also spearheaded the creation of the Tri-County Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to needy students. St. John's Cathedral underwent major repairs and liturgical renovations in preparation for the diocese's 50th anniversary. Bishop Rodimer rededicated it on Dec. 19, 1987.
Serving the Church on a national level, Bishop Rodimer was a member of the National Council of Catholic Bishops Committee on the Liturgy. He served the NCCB Administrative Committee and he served as chairman of the NCCB Committee for the American College at Louvain, Belgium.
Today Bishop Rodimer resides in Green Pond and serves the diocese whenever he can. "Every day I still pray for the people of the diocese and their intentions and I always hope today to still encourage my brother priests in whatever way I can to continue this very important ministry.