Joseph Bernard Brunini

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Joseph Bernard Brunini (July 24, 1909 – January 7, 1996) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Jackson from 1967 to 1984.

Biography[edit]

Joseph Brunini was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, the sixth child of John and Blanche (née Stein) Brunini.[1] His father was the son of Italian immigrants and worked as a lawyer, even founding his own firm, Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes; his mother was Jewish.[2] After attending St. Aloysius High School in Vicksburg, he studied at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1930.[1] He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical North American College and the Propaganda University, earning a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1931.[1] While in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani on December 5, 1933.[3]

Following his return to the United States, Brunini completed his graduate studies at the Catholic University of America and later obtained a Doctor of Canon Law in 1937.[1] He then returned to Mississippi and was named a curate at St. Mary's Cathedral in Natchez, where he became rector in 1943.[1] He was raised to the rank of Privy Chamberlain in 1944, and served as chancellor (1941-1951) and vicar general (1951-1957) of the Diocese of Natchez.[1] He was made a Domestic Prelate in 1948 and pastor of St. Peter's Cathedral at Jackson in 1949.[4]

On November 28, 1956, Brunini was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Natchez and Titular Bishop of Axomis by Pope Pius XII.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on January 29, 1957 from Bishop Richard Oliver Gerow, with Bishops Charles Pasquale Greco and John Louis Morkovsky serving as co-consecrators.[3] In addition to his episcopal duties, he continued to serve as vicar general and pastor of St. Peter's Cathedral.[4] Following the resignation of Bishop Gerow, Brunini was named the eighth Bishop of Natchez-Jackson by Pope Paul VI on December 2, 1967.[3] He was the first native Mississippian to serve in that post.[4] During his tenure, he was an outspoken advocate of the civil rights movement; he once declared, "We as religious leaders can't blame the politicians if we don't do our job first."[2] He co-found and served as the first president of the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference.[4] The name of the diocese was simplified to the Diocese of Jackson on March 1, 1977.[3]

After sixteen years as Bishop of Jackson, Brunini retired on January 24, 1984.[3] He later died while attending a conference in Louisiana, aged 86.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  2. ^ a b "Risk-Taking Bishop". The New York Times. 1969-12-25. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop Joseph Bernard Brunini". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "EX-BISHOP BRUNINI DIES". The Sun Herald. 
Preceded by
Richard Oliver Gerow
Bishop of Jackson
1967—1984
Succeeded by
William Russell Houck