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Archbishops of Baltimore

Archbishop William D. Borders

William D. Borders (1974-1989)
William Donald Borders was born Oct. 9, 1913, in Washington, Indiana, and attended parochial elementary and high schools there. He began his studies for the priesthood in 1932 at St. Meinrad Seminary in his native state, but in 1936 transferred to Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in response to an appeal from Archbishop Joseph Rummel of that city. He was ordained by Archbishop Rummel in New' Orleans' St. Louis Cathedral on May 18, 1940.

He served as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Orlando from 1968-1974 and then as Archbishop of Baltimore from 1974-1989.

Video Tribute of Archbishop BordersSee a Video Tribute of Archbishop Borders. Note that as he leaves the sanctuary after his installation, Msgr. Mel Taylor, then rector of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, and a young Father Bob Armstrong, who would become the rector, are walking on the Archbishop's left and right. The video is narrated by Msgr. Joe Gallaher, author of the CMOQ guidebook.

Archbishop Borders died April 19, 2010, at 10:03 at Stella Maris in Timonium at the age of 96.

“Archbishop Borders was a man of deep faith, great humility and great love for God, the Church and this Archdiocese,” Archbishop O'Brien said. “As a result, he was universally loved by the people of this local Church, by his brother bishops and priests, and by all who were blessed to call him Archbishop, Father, teacher, brother and friend.

Archbishop Borders published his teachings in a book, Spiritual Living in Secular Society, for leaders and people in the pews as we face the moral challenges of the Third Millennium. Click the book to order it.

Click here to order the book

“By any measure William Donald Borders served an extraordinary life. From the very date of his birth on October 9, 1913 in the middle of a flood so fierce it lifted his family home off its foundation and the doctor had to be transported to the home by boat, to his chaplaincy service during World War II in North Africa and Italy, which earned him the Bronze Star for Valor, the Archbishop’s quite strength would guide him throughout his life of service.

“That strength would be called on throughout his tenure as the first-ever Bishop of Orlando and eventually the 13th Archbishop of the oldest Catholic diocese in the Nation, as he was forced to tackle a number of pressing issues, including the desegregation of public schools, housing for the poor, and the role of the laity in the Church.

“Ever the teacher, the Archbishop would guide the faithful on these and other issues with his prolific writings, many of which remain relevant today and serve as guides for Church leaders throughout the United States.

“The Church and people of God of this Archdiocese benefitted immeasurably from his visionary leadership, indefatigable spirit and generous love. On a personal note, I counted him among my most worthy advisors since my arrival in Baltimore and will miss his fraternal love and supportive and joyful presence. May he be welcomed into God’s kingdom where he will suffer no more and where he will know God’s peace for all eternity.”

Archbishop William D. BordersMore details
• Info posted on other sites (listed below)

His first priestly assignment was as associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and served with the 91st Infantry Division in Africa and Italy. He left the military service in 1946 with the rank of major. Not long after, he enrolled at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he obtained a Master of Science degree in education in 1947.

In 1964, he became rector of St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In the Baton Rouge diocese he served as diocesan director of the Councils of Catholic Men and Women, director of seminarians, a diocesan consultor, and founder of the minor seminary.

On May 2, 1968, Pope Paul named him the first Bishop of Orlando, and he was ordained to the episcopate on June 14, entering his new diocese three days later.

In Orlando, Bishop Borders acted vigorously to implement the directives of the Second Vatican Council, with particular emphasis on those having to do with collegiality or shared responsibility. Under his guidance, diocesan and parish councils, boards of education, and similar commissions were established, and he created a Social Services Board to correlate the work of already existing agencies. He developed a comprehensive educational program aimed at coordinating efforts in Catholic Schools, the campus ministry apostolate, and religious education at all levels. Multiservice centers for the poor and for migrant workers were set up at various places in the diocese.

His transfer to Baltimore in 1974 heightened his efforts to govern and serve in a truly collegial manner. He divided the Archdiocese into three vicariates and appointed his three auxiliary Bishops as vicars over them, with delegated authority to act in his name in most matters. He reorganized the Archdiocesan Central Services, naming cabinet level Secretaries to carry out the administrative work of the Archdiocese and thus free him for more pastoral concerns. He clarified and strengthened the role of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. He combined the old Board of Consultors and the more recent Senate of Priests into a newly formed priests Council to advise him on priestly and pastoral matters.

He also initiated a Department of Pastoral Planning and Management looking to the future needs of the Archdiocese, an Office of Fund Development to carry out an effective stewardship program, and a vigorous evangelization effort to reach the unchurched of the Archdiocese.

Archbishop Borders submitted his resignation to Pope John Paul II on his 75th birthday. It was accepted some months later, and on April 6, 1989, he was succeeded by Most Reverend William H. Keeler.

Info posted on other sites upon the death of Archbishop Borders:

Statement of William Cardinal Keeler
Statement of Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly
Coats of Arms of Archbishop Borders
Chaplain Borders Earns Bronze Star in WWII
Archbishop Border's Pastoral Letters
Photo Gallery at the Archdiocesan website
Photos Gallery at The Baltimore Sun
Reflections on Baltimore’s Archbishop Borders (Baltimore Sun, April 19, 2010)
Archbishop Borders dies at age 96 (Baltimore Sun, April 19, 2010)
Blog by Rocco Palma, "Whispers in the Loggia"

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