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Victor Galeone, ninth bishop of Diocese of Saint Augustine, dies at 88

Bishop Victor Galeone, who served as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine from 2001 to 2011.
Diocese of St. Augustine
Bishop Victor Galeone, who served as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine from 2001 to 2011.

The man who led the 54 parishes in the Diocese of St. Augustine for a decade, has died in a nursing home in Catonsville, Maryland, according to church officials.

Bishop Victor Galeone, a former priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore who served as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine, died early Monday at St. Martin’s Home for the Aged at age 88.

Current Bishop Erik Pohlmeier said he is grateful for Galeone's legacy.

"As I hear stories of his service in the Diocese of St. Augustine, the fruits of his efforts are obvious," Pohlmeier said. "There are many serving today who began their work and ministry under his care. May God welcome this faithful shepherd in the merciful heart of our savior."

Bishop Felipe Estévez, Galeone's successor, said: "Bishop Galeone was such a man of prayer. He led the Diocese of St. Augustine by embracing the whole spectrum of the culture of life. The mission of the church was his personal priority giving such care to people on the margins. Bishop Galeone was a bishop who always witnessed the truth consistently and at all times."

Galeone was born in 1935 in Philadelphia, the fifth of six children, according to his diocesan biography. His family moved to Baltimore in 1941, and he attended St. Elizabeth of Hungary School in Highlandtown before entering the seminary at St. Charles College in Catonsville in 1949. He went on to attend the North American College in Rome, completing his theological studies at the Gregorian University with a licentiate in Sacred Theology.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1960, he returned to Baltimore to serve as parochial vicar, pastor, professor and principal of the day seminary. He also spent a decade as a missionary in Peru and served on the Priests Council, the College of Consultors for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the National Board of Directors of the Holy Childhood Association.

Installed on Aug. 21, 2001, as bishop of the 17-county Diocese of Saint Augustine, he succeeded Bishop John J. Snyder, who retired in late 2000. Galeone submitted his letter of resignation to Vatican officials in 2010, at the mandatory retirement age of 75, and was succeeded by Estévez on April 27, 2011.

Galeone spent the early years of his retirement in a Trappist monastery, publishing a book, “Joyful Good News: For Young and Old," in 2015. He later moved to St. Martin’s Home for the Aged under the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Baltimore.

Baltimore Archbishop William Lori said he was saddened to learn of Galeone's death, calling him a "great priest and bishop."

"He was deeply loved and respected as a priest and pastor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He had a special love and regard for his fellow priests that is remembered to this day," Lori said in a statement Monday. "Bishop Galeone went on to serve as bishop of St. Augustine with single-hearted devotion and love, bringing together people of different cultures and languages with a pastor’s love and care. Whatever form his priestly ministry took, he was always deeply prayerful.”

Galeone's vigil service will be at 6 p.m. June 5 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. June 6, also at the cathedral, followed by interment in the bishop’s mausoleum at San Lorenzo Catholic Cemetery on U.S. 1 South in St. Augustine.

Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years as a radio, television and print reporter in the Jacksonville area, as well as years of broadcast work in the Northeast. You can reach Dan at, (904) 607-2770 or on Twitter at @scanlan_dan.