Archbishop John Quinn, a strong and compassionate voice of leadership in the U.S. Church who traced his roots to the Diocese of San Bernardino, passed away on June 22 at the age of 88.
Archbishop Quinn’s life and ministry were celebrated in a Mass of Resurrection at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco on July 10. Bishop Gerald Barnes and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Rutilio del Riego were among the 24 bishops who concelebrated the Mass.
“Please join me in praying for the eternal rest of Archbishop John Quinn, a native son of our Diocese,” Bishop Barnes tweeted on the day of Archbishop Quinn’s passing. “Let us thank God for his life and ministry.”
Archbishop Quinn was born in Riverside on March 28, 1929. After completing high school, he entered the seminary for the Diocese of San Diego and was eventually sent to Rome to complete his studies, and received his degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on July 19, 1953. His first assignment as a priest was at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Riverside.
He was ordained a bishop in December of 1967 and first served as an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of San Diego. In 1971 he was appointed the fifth bishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Two years later that diocese was split and we has named Archbishop of Oklahoma City. In 1977, Quinn returned to California to serve as Archbishop of San Francisco, a post he held until his retirement in 1995. During those years, Archbishop Quinn served as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (1977-80).
In retirement, Archbishop Quinn kept busy writing books, leading retreats and offering workshops. In January of 2014, he returned to the Diocese to give a three-night talk at St. Patrick Parish in Moreno Valley, where he still has family. He focused on the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus, encouraging those in attendance to look for the subtle presence of God and seek communion with Him through prayer, worship and acts of service.
“I never wake up in the morning and say, ‘what will I do?’ “ Archbishop Quinn said of retirement, during his 2014 visit. “And I never get it all done.”