Norman Francis McFarland

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Styles of
Norman McFarland
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor

Norman Francis McFarland (February 21, 1922 – April 16, 2010) was the second Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Orange. He had previously served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Reno and bishop of the renamed Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas.

Early life and pastoral appointments[edit]

Norman McFarland was born in Martinez, California as the third oldest son of Francis and Agnes (Kotchevar) McFarland. He went to public schools and eventually attended Saint Joseph Seminary in Mountain View, California. McFarland earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1943 at Saint Patrick Major Seminary.[1] He was ordained to the priesthood on June 15, 1946 by Archbishop John J. Mitty for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.[2]

In 1946, McFarland was an associate pastor at St. Andrew's in Oakland, California when he was selected by Archbishop Mitty to attend the Catholic University of America.[2] He earned a Doctor of Canon Law degree and returned to the archdiocese.[3] McFarland served in a number of archdiocesan positions, including as a marriage tribunal official and a professor at Lone Mountain College and San Francisco College for Women.[3]

Episcopal appointments[edit]

Archdiocese of San Francisco[edit]

McFarland was appointed as the archdiocese's Auxiliary Bishop on June 5, 1970.[3] He was consecrated on September 5 as the Titular Bishop of Bida by Archbishop Joseph McGucken. His principal co-consecrators were Bishops Hugh Donohoe and Merlin Guilfoyle McFarland was appointed as the Vicar for Finance, Vicar for Seminarians, and Pastor in residence at Old Mission Dolores.[2]

Diocese of Reno[edit]

On December 6, 1974 McFarland was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Reno Diocese[3] by Pope Paul VI upon the resignation of Bishop Michael Joseph Green. As the administrator, he was in charge of finances for all of Nevada and is credited with covering "its debt by spending eight days on the phone asking bishops around the country for grants and low-interest loans."[1] McFarland became Reno's ordinary on February 10, 1976. As its diocesan bishop the name of the diocese was changed to Reno-Las Vegas. McFarland also expanded the funding for Catholic Charities.[1]

Diocese of Orange[edit]

McFarland was appointed as the Bishop of the Diocese of Orange on December 29, 1986 upon the death of Bishop William Johnson by Pope John Paul II.[4] Johnson was the first Bishop of Orange which is the second-largest diocese in California.[4] McFarland was consecrated as its bishop on February 24, 1987.

In 1995, after hearing McFarland's homily at the Red Mass for Orange County, several Orange County Bar Association member lawyers formed the St. Thomas More Society of Orange County.[5]

Prior to his 76th birthday in 1998, McFarland submitted his resignation which was accepted by Pope John Paul II.

Final years[edit]

In 2003, McFarland was inducted to the Mater Dei High School Ring of Honor.[6] McFarland was recognized during the annual spring Ring of Honor and Founders Circle Dinner for his contributions towards their community.[6]

McFarland suffered a heart attack and died on April 16, 2010.[7][8] His Mass of the Resurrection was held at the Holy Family Cathedral in Orange, California on April 23, 2010.[9]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

McFarland's direct Apostolic succession is delineated from Cardinal Scipione Rebiba. 91% of the world's more than 4,000 Catholic bishops alive today trace their episcopal lineage back to Rebiba.[1]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Michael Joseph Green
Bishop of Reno-Las Vegas
1976–1986
Succeeded by
Daniel F. Walsh
Preceded by
William Robert Johnson
Bishop of Orange
1986–1998
Succeeded by
Tod David Brown


Episcopal lineage
Consecrated by: Joseph McGucken
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Michael Patrick Driscoll March 6, 1990


  1. ^ Wikipedia contributors (April 21, 2010). "Scipione Rebiba". Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2010-04-21.