Walter William Curtis

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Walter William Curtis (May 3, 1913 – October 18, 1997) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Bridgeport from 1961 to 1988.


Walter Curtis was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and studied at Fordham University in New York City.[1] After graduating from Seton Hall University in 1934, he attended Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange before furthering his studies in Rome at the Pontifical North American College.[2] Curtis was ordained to the priesthood on December 8, 1937.[3] He completed his graduate studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University the following year.[1]

Upon his return to the United States, he became a professor of moral theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary in 1938.[2] He later earned a doctorate in sacred theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.[1] On June 27, 1957, Curtis was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Newark and Titular Bishop of Bisica by Pope Pius XII.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 24 from Archbishop Thomas Aloysius Boland, with Bishops James A. McNulty and George W. Ahr serving as co-consecrators.[3] In addition to his episcopal duties, he was named pastor of Sacred Heart Church at Bloomfield in 1958.[2]

Following the promotion of Lawrence Shehan to Coadjutor Archbishop of Baltimore, Curtis was named the second Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut, by Pope John XXIII on September 23, 1961.[3] He was installed at St. Augustine Cathedral on November 21, 1961.[3] During his 27-year-long tenure, he established Notre Dame Girls' High School and Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport, Notre Dame Boys' High School in Fairfield, St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, and Immaculate High School in Danbury.[4] He also founded Sacred Heart University at Fairfield in 1963.[4]

Curtis attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965, and spent most of his administration implementing the Council's reforms.[4] During the 1970s, he oversaw the renovation of St. Augustine Cathedral and, in 1979, its re-dedication.[2] He established two nursing homes, Pope John Paul II Health Care Center in Danbury and St. Camillus Health Care Center in Stamford.[2] He increased the number of Catholics in the diocese from 286,000 to 300,000.[2] He also founded the Fairfield Foundation, a nondenominational group that helps people in need in Fairfield County.[2]

After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Curtis resigned as Bishop of Bridgeport on June 28, 1988.[3] He later died from pneumonia at St. Joseph Manor in Trumbull, aged 84.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Barron, James (1997-10-23). "Walter W. Curtis, 84, Bishop Of Bridgeport for 27 Years". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop Walter William Curtis".
  4. ^ a b c "The Bishops of Bridgeport". Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Lawrence Shehan
Bishop of Bridgeport
Succeeded by
Edward Egan