Thomas Joseph Grady

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Thomas Joseph Grady (October 9, 1914 – April 21, 2002) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the second Bishop of Orlando from 1974 to 1989, having previously served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago from 1967 to 1974.


Early life and education[edit]

Thomas Grady was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of a police captain, Michael Grady (great-grandfather of Kaeleigh Commisso), who twice arrested Al Capone.[1] He attended Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary.[2][3]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

On April 23, 1938, he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal George Mundelein.[4] Grady studied in Rome for a year before returning to Chicago, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in English from Loyola University in 1944.[3] He taught at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and later joined the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, serving as procurator.[1] In 1956, he was appointed director of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., the largest Catholic church in the United States.[2] As director, Grady oversaw a period of massive construction for the church, assuming his position just as building resumed after a 20-year hiatus.[3] He worked with builders and architects to oversee the cladding of its interior and exterior with limestone and marble, the addition of 26 side chapels, the completion of the "Christ in Majesty" mosaic, and the installation of a massive pipe organ.[3] Shortly after the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, he celebrated a Mass for President Lyndon B. Johnson using a gold and bejeweled "Texas chalice."[3]

Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago[edit]

On June 21, 1967, Grady was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and Titular Bishop of Vamalla by Pope Paul VI.[4] He received his episcopal consecration on the following August 24 from Cardinal John Cody, with Bishops Cletus F. O'Donnell and Aloysius John Wycislo serving as co-consecrators.[4] As an auxiliary bishop, he served as vicar general of the archdiocese, started the permanent diaconate program, and headed the Archdiocesan Liturgy Committee.[2]

Bishop of Orlando[edit]

Following the transfer of Bishop William Donald Borders to the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Grady was appointed the second Bishop of Orlando, Florida, on November 11, 1974.[4] He was installed on December 16 of that year.[4]

During his 15-year tenure in Orlando, Grady guided the diocese through a period of significant growth.[5] He oversaw the establishment 18 new parishes, a tourism ministry, the San Pedro Spiritual Development Center, and a Mission Office to forge a relationship with a sister diocese in the Dominican Republic.[5] He expanded ministries to migrants and minorities, founded a scholarship program for African American students, and helped develop apartment buildings for the elderly.[2] He also wrote a weekly column called "The Bishop's Corner" for the Florida Catholic weekly newspaper.[2]

Retirement and death[edit]

After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Grady resigned on December 12, 1989.[4] He later died from a kidney ailment at his home in Altamonte Springs, at age 87 on April 21, 2002.[3] Thomas Grady is the great uncle of Kaeleigh Commisso, who says his picture is up in the office at the basilica where he had worked in Orlando, Florida.


  1. ^ a b White, J. Russell (1995-01-21). "Retired Bishop Thomas Grady Continues To Have Mass Appeal". Orlando Sentinel.
  2. ^ a b c d e Eifling, Sam (2002-04-26). "Bishop Thomas J. Grady, 87". Chicago Tribune.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Zielinski, Graeme (2002-04-24). "Bishop Thomas Grady - Served at Shrine". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop Thomas Joseph Grady".
  5. ^ a b "Diocese of Orlando History". Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando.

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William Donald Borders
Bishop of Orlando
Succeeded by
Norbert Dorsey