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Most Reverend Martin D. McNamara
Bishop of Joliet, 1948-1966 

Bishop McNamara


Bishop Martin Dewey McNamara was born in Chicago, Illinois, to John Lawrence and Mary (Hogan) McNamara on May 12, 1898. He was educated at St. Bride's School, Cathedral College (later Quigley Preparatory Seminary) in Chicago, St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, and the Catholic University of America.  

He was ordained to the priesthood by George Cardinal Mundelein on December 23, 1922 at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. He became a professor at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago in 1925 and was a chaplain at St. Vincent’s Infant Hospital in Chicago from 1932 to 1937. He was made pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Wilmette in 1937 and named a Domestic Prelate in 1946. 

On December 17, 1948, Msgr. McNamara was appointed the first Bishop of the newly-erected Diocese of Joliet by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago on March 7, 1949, from Samuel Cardinal Stritch, with Bishops John Joseph Boylan and Albert Rudolph Zuroweste serving as co-consecrators. On March 24, 1949, Bishop McNamara was installed as Bishop of Joliet by Cardinal Stritch at the old Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet.  He took as his episcopal motto, Domine Ut Serviam (Lord, That I Might Serve). 

When Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council in 1962, Bishop McNamara, along with bishops throughout the world, went to Rome.  However, no sooner had he arrived  he became ill and needed to return home, never to return to the Council. Bishop McNamara died at the age of 70 at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, during heart surgery on May 23, 1966. Archbishop John P. Cody of Chicago celebrated the Funeral Mass at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus on May 27, 1966. Bishop McNamara is interred at Resurrection Cemetery in Romeoville.

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