Bernard T. Espelage
Bernard Espelage was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Bernard and Clara (née Schottelkotte) Espelage. He received his early education at parochial schools and Franciscan seminaries. He was invested with the Franciscan habit on August 15, 1910, and made his profession as a member of the Franciscan Order on August 15, 1911. He was later ordained to the priesthood in Oldenburg, Indiana, on May 16, 1918.
He then served as a curate in Roswell, New Mexico, for a year before becoming chancellor of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1919. In 1926 he earned a Licentiate of Canon Law from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He served as rector of the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi (1934-1939) and afterwards returned to Oldenburg, where he was pastor of Holy Family Church (1939-1940).
On July 20, 1940, Espelage was reassigned to New Mexico as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 9 from Archbishop John T. McNicholas, O.P., with Bishop Joseph H. Albers and Archbishop Joseph Ritter serving as co-consecrators. He attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965. During his 29-year-long tenure, he increased the number of Catholics from 30,000 to 79,260; priests from 32 to 108; and parishes from 17 to 53.
|Bishop of Gallup
Jerome J. Hastrich