Gerald Thomas Bergan

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The Most Reverend
Gerald Thomas Bergan
Archbishop of Omaha
Gerald Thomas Bergan.jpg
See Omaha
Installed February 7, 1948
Term ended June 11, 1969
Predecessor James Hugh Ryan
Successor Daniel E. Sheehan
Other posts Bishop of Des Moines (1934-48)
Ordination October 28, 1915
Consecration June 13, 1934
Personal details
Born (1892-01-26)January 26, 1892
Peoria, Illinois
Died July 12, 1972(1972-07-12) (aged 80)
Omaha, Nebraska
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Ordination history of
Gerald Thomas Bergan
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated by George Mundelein
Date of consecration June 13, 1934
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Gerald Thomas Bergan as principal consecrator
John Joseph Boylan February 17, 1943
John Linus Paschang October 9, 1951
Tomás Guilherme Murphy, C.Ss.R. January 2, 1963
Daniel E. Sheehan March 19, 1964

Gerald Thomas Bergan (January 26, 1892 – July 12, 1972) was an American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Des Moines (1934–48) and Archbishop of Omaha (1948-69).

Early life and ministry[edit]

Gerald Bergan was born in Peoria, Illinois, to William and Mary (née O'Connell) Bergan.[1] After graduating from Spalding Institute in his native city, he attended St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, where he excelled in athletics.[2] He continued his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.[1] He was ordained to the priesthood on October 28, 1915.[3] Upon his return to the United States, he served as chancellor and vicar general of the Diocese of Peoria, and rector of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception.[1]

Bishop of Des Moines[edit]

On March 24, 1934, Bergan was appointed the third Bishop of Des Moines, Iowa, by Pope Pius XI.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 13 from Cardinal George Mundelein, with Bishops Joseph Schlarman and Henry Rohlman serving as co-consecrators.[3] He established a diocesan newspaper called The Messenger.[4] At the eighth National Eucharistic Congress in 1941, he spoke on labor-management relations, asserting that the employer must permit workers to engage in collective bargaining.[5] He also called for a single union for both labor and capital, and suggested that long-serving employees should have a share in the management of an enterprise.[5]

Archbishop of Omaha[edit]

Bergan was named the second Archbishop of Omaha, Nebraska, on February 7, 1948.[3] During his administration, more than $80 million was spent for new Catholic schools, churches, and hospitals in the archdiocese.[5] This caused him to become known as the "building bishop."[6] Between 1962 and 1965, he attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council. After 21 years in Omaha, he retired as Archbishop on June 11, 1969; he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Tacarata on the same date.[3] He later resigned his titular see on January 28, 1971.[3]

Bergan died at age 80. Bergan Mercy Medical Center and Archbishop Bergan High School are named in his honor.


  1. ^ a b c Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  2. ^ "In the Churches". TIME Magazine. 1934-07-02. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Archbishop Gerald Thomas Bergan". [self-published source]
  4. ^ "Bishops of the Diocese of Des Moines". Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines. 
  5. ^ a b c "GERALD T. BERGAN, AN ARCHBISHOP; Former Leader of Omaha Archdiocese Dies at 80". The New York Times. 1972-07-02. 
  6. ^ "Archbishop Gerald Thomas Bergan". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Thomas William Drumm
Bishop of Des Moines
Succeeded by
Edward Celestin Daly, OP
Preceded by
James Hugh Ryan
Archbishop of Omaha
Succeeded by
Daniel E. Sheehan