Joseph Lawson Howze

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Joseph Lawson E. Howze
Bishop emeritus of Biloxi
AppointedMarch 8, 1977
InstalledJune 6, 1977
Term endedMay 15, 2001
PredecessorFirst Bishop
SuccessorThomas John Rodi
OrdinationMay 7, 1959
ConsecrationJanuary 28, 1973
by Luigi Raimondi, Harold Robert Perry, and Joseph Bernard Brunini
Personal details
Born(1923-08-30)August 30, 1923
Daphne, Alabama, U.S.
DiedJanuary 9, 2019(2019-01-09) (aged 95)
Ocean Springs, Mississippi, U.S.
Previous postAuxiliary Bishop of Natchez-Jackson
MottoUnity of God’s people
Styles of
Joseph Lawson E. Howze
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

Joseph Lawson E. Howze (August 30, 1923 – January 9, 2019) was an African-American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the first Bishop of Biloxi from 1977 to 2001.

Early life[edit]

Howze was born in Daphne, Alabama. He was the oldest of four children born to Albert Otis Howze Sr. and Helen Lawson Howze. His mother died when he was five. He had six siblings in total. He grew up with neighbors who were Catholic and attributes his Catholicism to that influence. He attended kindergarten at Most Pure Heart of Mary School in Mobile. He was later transferred to the segregated public schools of Mobile, graduating from Mobile County Secondary School in 1944. Howze originally aspired to become a doctor and studied chemistry, biology, and physics. He graduated from Alabama State Branch Junior College in 1946. In 1948 he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alabama State University. He converted to Catholicism, being fully accepted at age twenty four, taking the name Joseph.[1] He taught science in the public school system and was later hired to teach at St. Monica School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1952.

Catholic Priesthood[edit]

After expressing an interest in the priesthood Howze was accepted to study for the priesthood at Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure University in New York (receiving his Doctor of Divinity in 1959), and was ordained for the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 7, 1959.[2] He served as a pastor in Asheville.

On November 8, 1972 Howze was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Natchez-Jackson, Mississippi, and Titular Bishop of Maxita by Pope Paul VI. He was consecrated to the episcopate on January 28, 1973 by Archbishop Luigi Raimondi, the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, with Bishops Harold Robert Perry, S.V.D., and Joseph Bernard Brunini serving as co-consecrators. When the Diocese of Biloxi was created in 1977, Howze was appointed as its first bishop. He was the first black bishop in the 20th century to head a diocese in the United States. He retired June 6, 2001 and died January 9, 2019 in Ocean Springs, Mississippi at the age of 95.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Past Bishops". Roman Catholic Diocese of Biloxi.
  2. ^ "Bishop Joseph Lawson Howze".
  3. ^ Joseph Lawson Howze's obituary

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
First Bishop
Bishop of Biloxi
Succeeded by
Thomas John Rodi
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Natchez-Jackson
Succeeded by