Edward D. Head

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend

Edward D. Head
Diocese of Buffalo
ProvinceNew York
Term ended1995
PredecessorJames A. McNulty
SuccessorHenry J. Mansell
Other postsTitular Bishop of Ard Sratha, Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
OrdinationJanuary 27, 1945
ConsecrationMarch 19, 1970
Personal details
Birth nameEdward Dennis Head
BornAugust 5, 1919
White Plains, New York
DiedMarch 29, 2005(2005-03-29) (aged 85)
Kenmore, New York
BuriedBuffalo, New York
DenominationRoman Catholic
ParentsCharles; Nellie
OccupationBishop, Clergyman
Alma materColumbia University, St. Joseph’s Seminary at Dunwoodie, New York School of Social Work
Bishop Edward Head at University of Buffalo, 1992

Edward D. Head (August 5, 1919 – March 29, 2005) was the 11th Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York from 1973-1995.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

Head was born in White Plains, New York,[1][2] and was raised in the South Bronx.[2] His parents were Charles and Nellie, immigrants from England and Ireland, respectively.[2] Head had two brothers, Charles and Daniel.[2]


Both Head and his brothers solely attended Catholic parochial schools to receive their educations.[2] Head earned a mathematics degree from Columbia University[2] prior to entering St. Joseph's Seminary at Dunwoodie in 1939.[2] Through his studies at St. Joseph's Seminary, he was later ordained a priest in 1945.[2] During his time in ministry at the Archdiocese of New York, Head earned a master's degree from the New York School of Social Work in 1948.[2]


Head was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York on January 27, 1945[1][2][4] by Cardinal Francis Spellman in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, New York City.[2]

Head served in many capacities, including as an educator, prior to being appointed auxiliary bishop.[2] Head taught sociology at Notre Dame College on Staten Island[2] before serving as assistant pastor at both Sacred Heart Church in the Bronx and St. Roch's Church on Staten Island.[2]

In September 1947, Head became a staff member of the Archdiocese of New York Catholic Charities Family Service Department.[2] He was an assistant pastor at St. Veronica's Church in Greenwich Village, New York City for 17 years while he worked at Catholic Charities.[2]

Head was named associate director of Family Services in March 1948,[2] serving in that capacity until he became director of social research for Catholic Charities in 1956.[2]

In 1964, Head went to minister at St. Monica's Church in Manhattan;[2] and became a parochial assistant at St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1967.[2]

On October 15, 1966, Head was appointed executive director and secretary of Catholic Charities by Cardinal Terence Cooke.[2] In these capacities in the organization, Head oversaw nearly 1,000 employees,[2] and administrated an annual budget of millions of dollars.[2]

Episcopal career[edit]

Ordination history of
Edward D. Head
Priestly ordination
Ordained byFrancis Spellman
DateJanuary 27, 1945
PlaceSt. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, USA
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorTerence Cooke
Co-consecratorsJohn Maguire,
Edwin Broderick
DateMarch 19, 1970
PlaceSt. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, USA
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Edward D. Head as principal consecrator
Donald Walter TrautmanApril 16, 1985
Edward M. GroszFebruary 2, 1990

Auxiliary Bishop of New York[edit]

On March 19, 1970, Head was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York.[1][2][3] He was also the Titular Bishop of Ard Sratha.[1] Head served, among other assignments, as executive director of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of New York.[2]

Bishop of Buffalo[edit]

On January 23, 1973, Head was named as the 11th Bishop of Buffalo by Pope Paul VI;[2] and he was installed on March 19, 1973.[1][2][3][4][5]

Fundraising for Catholic Charities increased by an extreme degree under Head's leadership in the Diocese,[2] including the year of his retirement.[2]

Head was involved in many activities as Bishop of Buffalo.[3] Under his leadership, many institutes and offices were created in the Diocese.[3] Many of these endeavors include the Religious Education Coordinators Council; the Priests' Retirement Board; the Center for Church Vocations; the Western New York Catholic Hospital Health Care Council; the Peace and Justice Commission; the Office of Vicar for Religious; and the Permanent Diaconate Program.[3]

Additional efforts included the Office of Vicar for Campus Ministry; the Organist Enrichment Program; the Diocesan Marian Commission; the Office of Vicar for the Central City; Daybreak Productions; the Catholic Charities Parish Outreach Program; the Little Portion Friary; the Pope John Paul II Residence; the Agenda for the 80's; the Diocesan Radio Studio; and the Lay Ministry Advisory Board.[3]

Further endeavors created and/or supervised by Head included the consolidation of the Catholic Education Department; the Renew Program; the Office of Church Ministry; the relocation and consolidation of Diocesan Offices in the Catholic Center; the Office of Black Ministry; the Hispanic Apostolate; the Commission on Women in the Church and Society; the Department of Pro-Life Activities; the New Visions Commission for Pastoral Planning; the reorganization of 10 Central City parishes; and others.[3]

In 1995, upon celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination, Head reflected on his appointment as Bishop of Buffalo.[4]

Head is re-quoted in a WBFO article by Eileen Buckley, as well as on a page announcing his death on the Diocese of Buffalo website, in regard to his appointment as Bishop of Buffalo by Pope Paul VI, stating:

In 1973, Pope Paul, VI, could have sent this church of Buffalo a wiser bishop, a holier bishop, a bishop more astute in administration, or a bishop more gifted in public speaking. But, I don't think Pope Paul could have sent the Diocese a bishop who had tried harder to love you and to serve you.[2][4]

Head ordained 124 men to the priesthood during his time as Bishop of Buffalo.[2] It has been estimated that Head confirmed 50,000 young people to the Roman Catholic Church during his 22 years of service in Buffalo.[2][8]


Pope John XXIII honored Head in July 1962 by naming him a papal chamberlain.[2] In May 1966, Head was given the title of domestic prelate by Pope Paul VI.[2] Prior to his death, Head was honored with a retirement home for priests that was named for him, the Bishop Edward D. Head Residence, in Lackawanna, New York.[2]

Retirement and later life[edit]

Pope John Paul II accepted Head's petition to retire in April 1995.[1][2][3][4][5] Church law required him to retire at age 75;[4] and he was named Bishop Emeritus.[1] Even though he was retired, he continued to play an active role[5] in the Diocese of Buffalo throughout the 1990s and into early part of the next decade.[3] He continued to be active in health care ministry, and other ministries throughout his retirement.[2] Head died on March 29, 2005 in Kenmore, New York, at the age of 85.[1][2][3][4][5][7]

Upon Head's sudden death, Bishop Edward Kmiec was quoted in a March 30, 2005 Buffalo News article:

This is a day of tremendous sadness for the family of the Diocese of Buffalo. Bishop Head had a tremendous impact on the faith lives of Catholics in the eight counties of Western New York.[7]

Head's body is buried in the crypt of St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo.[3][8] He is the first Bishop of Buffalo to have retired in Buffalo.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bishop Edward Dennis Head, Catholic-Hierarchy, 21 August 2013, Cheney, D.M., Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am Bishop Head dies, Diocese of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY: Diocese of Buffalo, 2014, Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Most Rev. Edward D. Head, Diocese of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY: Diocese of Buffalo, 2014, Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bishop Edward Head dies, remembered as kind and considerate leader, WBFO 88.7: Buffalo's NPR News Station, Buffalo, NY, 30 March 2005, Buckley, E., Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e Bishop Edward Head dies, served as leader of Catholic diocese for 22 years, WBFO 88.7: Buffalo's NPR News Station, Buffalo, NY, 29 March 2005, Scott, M., Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  6. ^ Sole power: Bishop Edward Kmiec wants change - and so it will be, Buffalo Business First, Buffalo, NY: Buffalo Business First, 11 September 2006, O'Shei, T., Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Bishop Edward D. Head dies at 85, The Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 30 March 2005, Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  8. ^ a b Funeral mass held for Bishop Head, WBFO 88.7: Buffalo's NPR News Station, Buffalo, NY, 5 April 2005, Buckley, E., Retrieved 3 January 2014.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
James A. McNulty
Bishop of Buffalo
1973 – 1995
Succeeded by
Henry J. Mansell
Preceded by
Edwin Broderick
Auxiliary Bishop of New York
1970 – 1973
Succeeded by
Theodore Edgar McCarrick