Bishop W. Francis Malooly was celebrated for his humility, personal connection to people and leadership through difficult times as he was recognized May 20 at the annual dinner of the St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Wilmington.
Bishop Malooly was honored at Wilmington Country Club while the society of legal professionals marked its 30th anniversary.
“He’s undoubtedly the most even-tempered person I’ve ever known,” said award presenter Anthony G. Flynn, a society executive committee member and legal counsel for the diocese. “His mission as a priest is most present in everything he does. Many have been comforted by the bishop’s personal touch.”
The St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Wilmington describes itself as a group dedicated to justice, personal courage and conviction, commitment to law, community and religion, scholarly pursuits, intelligence, honesty and integrity, humility and humor, and a record of personal sacrifice for the good of the community. The society is a fellowship of attorneys committed to the example set by Saint Thomas More, promoting and fostering high ethical principles, assisting in the spiritual growth of its members and encouraging interfaith understanding.
Among those feting the bishop was Bishop John O. Barres, a former Wilmington priest and current bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, who taped a video message that was played for the gathering. Bishop Barres described Bishop Malooly as a mentor from whom he learned “calm, generosity and consistency of character.”
In remarks to the group, Bishop Malooly said he always wanted to be a pastor of a parish, but that he accepted administrative responsibility as it was requested of him. He is in his 10th year as head of the diocese and said he has had “a great ride” in Wilmington. Bishops are required by church law to submit their resignation upon their 75th birthday, which arrives for Bishop Malooly early next year. Acceptance of the resignation is at the pope’s discretion. The bishop said he has “probably a year or two more” leading the diocese, but plans to stay here in retirement.