REMEMBERING ARCHBISHOP EUGENE MARINO


Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply,

“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you” (Lk. 17:20-25).


Most Rev. Eugene Antonio Marino was born to his parents, Jesus and Irene Marino, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Ordained a priest of the Josephite Society, he taught religion, science, and history at the Josephite minor seminary and earned a Master of Religious Education degree from Fordham University. By 1968, he was a spiritual director and was elected Vicar General of the Josephites in 1971-1974. Bishop Marino was the first Black Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington (D.C.), where he served for fourteen years [1974-1988].

As Bishop in Washington, Bishop Marino was supportive of the efforts of the Archdiocesan Council and Office of Black Catholics. He was known to be a major force for the encouragement and development of Black Catholic lay leaders. He was secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the first African American to hold a significant position in the organization. During this time, his contributions on the heresy of racism and on racial inclusion led to co-authorship of What We Have Seen and Heard, a pastoral letter on evangelization, with the African American Bishops.

In 1988 Bishop Marino was consecrated as the first Black Archbishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, serving for two years. He subsequently resigned from this position citing personal reasons and “the need for an extended period of spiritual renewal, therapy, and medical supervision.” Archbishop Marino is referred to as a wounded healer, called to serve and assist the healing of others, especially his brother priests at St. Vincent Medical Center in Westchester County, New York. His episcopal motto in 1974 was “Feed My Lambs”[John 15-17] He was generously compassionate and was a leader, teacher, and mentor. In spite of obstacles, this writer observed that he loved the Lord and cherished God’s forgiveness. When God called him home after a heart attack during the night on November 12, he had just returned from a weekend retreat and had received the sacraments, including the anointing of the sick. This is no accident. It was God’s plan. May we all experience the same peace. “‘Do you love me?’ [Jesus asked] Feed my lambs…Feed my sheep.’” We all have work to do.

Jacqueline E Wilson

Wilmington, Delaware

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