John Joyce Russell

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The Most Reverend

John Joyce Russell
Bishop of Richmond
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
In officeJuly 3, 1958 — April 28, 1973
PredecessorPeter Leo Ireton
SuccessorWalter Francis Sullivan
Personal details
BornDecember 1, 1897
Baltimore, Maryland
DiedMarch 17, 1993(1993-03-17) (aged 95)
Ordination history of
John Joyce Russell
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byAmleto Giovanni Cicognani
DateMarch 14, 1950
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by John Joyce Russell as principal consecrator
James Louis FlahertyOctober 15, 1966
Walter Francis SullivanDecember 1, 1970

John Joyce Russell (December 1, 1897 – March 17, 1993) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, serving as Bishop of Richmond from 1958 to 1973.


John Russell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to John and Mary (née Joyce) Russell. He received his early education at Calvert Hall and Loyola High School. From 1912 to 1917, he studied at St. Charles College in Ellicott City. He earned his Master of Arts degree from St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore in 1919, and a Doctor of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome in 1923. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 8, 1923.

Following his return to Baltimore, Russell served as a curate at St. Martin Church from 1923 to 1937. He also served as diocesan director of Catholic Big Brothers and of the Holy Name Societes (1927–46). From 1929 to 1946, he was diocesan director of the Catholic Evidence Guild. He was pastor of St. Ursula Parish[1] in Baltimore from 1937 to 1946, and was named a domestic prelate in 1945. He then served as pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church[2] in Washington, D.C. (1946-1948) and diocesan director of Catholic Charities (1946–50). From 1948 to 1950, he was pastor of the Church of the Nativity.[3]

On January 28, 1950, Russell was appointed Bishop of Charleston by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following March 14 from Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, with Archbishop Patrick O'Boyle and Bishop John Michael McNamara serving as co-consecrators. His relative William Thomas Russell had previously served as the Bishop of Charleston.

Russell was later named the tenth Bishop of Richmond on July 3, 1958, being installed as such on September 30 of that same year. From 1962 to 1965 he attended the Second Vatican Council. In implementing the Council's reforms, Bishop Russell established a Diocesan Commission on Ecumenical Affairs in 1963, and a Diocesan Pastoral Council and a Council of Priests in 1966.[4] A champion of civil rights, he had the parents of prospective students for Richmond's Catholic schools be interviewed for signs of racism.[5]

After fourteen years of service, he resigned as Bishop of Richmond on April 28, 1973. Russell later died at St. Joseph's Home in Richmond,[6] run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, at the age of 95.

Russell was a schoolmate of Francis J. Parater, now a Servant of God.[7]


  1. ^ St. Ursula Church
  2. ^ St. Patrick Catholic Church: Our History Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  3. ^ Church of the Nativity
  4. ^ The Catholic Diocese of Richmond. History of the Diocese of Richmond
  5. ^ TIME Magazine. Bumpy Road in Richmond February 28, 1972
  6. ^ The Catholic Virginian. Little Sisters of the Poor welcome international superior to Richmond September 11, 2006
  7. ^ Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Servant of God, Seminarian Frank Parater Archived 2007-08-10 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Emmet M. Walsh
Bishop of Charleston
Succeeded by
Paul John Hallinan
Preceded by
Peter Leo Ireton
Bishop of Richmond
Succeeded by
Walter Francis Sullivan