Bishop Joseph A. Galante, fourth Bishop of Beaumont, passed away Saturday, May 25, 2019. He was 80. He served the Diocese of Beaumont from May 1994 until his reception as Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas in 2000. He preceded Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD, the current bishop of the Beaumont Diocese. At the time of his death Bishop Galante was Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Camden, N.J.
The Rite of Reception for Bishop Galante will be at 3 p.m. May 31 at St. Agnes Church, Our Lady of Hope Parish, in Blackwood, N.J. Viewing times are 3:30-4:30 p.m. May 31, 7-9 p.m. May 31 and 9-10:30 a.m. June 1. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. June 1.
“We are grateful for his ministry as our 4th Bishop of Beaumont,” Bishop Guillory said when he learned of Bishop Galante’s death. Bishop Guillory also asked for the people of Southeast Texas to remember Bishop Galante in their prayers.
Under Bishop Galante the Diocese of Beaumont saw its first woman Chancellor. The appointment not only highlighted again the importance of religious to the diocese but also the growing role of women in the local Church, especially in diocesan ministries. During his episcopacy two new diocesan ministries were established which reflected the local Church’s diversity. Even though Spanish-speaking sisters were recruited to the diocese as early as 1979, it wasn’t until 1996 that a specific Hispanic Ministry began. An African American ministry was started in 1997 that works with issues, education and training that not only benefits predominately African American parishes in the diocese but the entire faith community as well.
Other ministries also expanded its outreach under his leadership. In September 1996, the Office of Religious Education was changed to the Office of Lifelong Catholic Formation/Education. The Office of Jail and Prison Ministry was established in 1994. Even though the diocese had an annual appeal throughout its existence, a new office of Stewardship and Development was started in July 1996 which brought a more concentrated effort to the development side of the office in addition to the annual appeal. The appeal also received a new name becoming known as the Bishop’s Faith Appeal.
Joseph A. Galante was born in Philadelphia on July 2, 1938, and ordained in 1964. He attended Lateran University in Rome, where he received his doctorate in canon law, and later the University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome, where he received his Master’s Degree in Spiritual Theology.
He served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia until he was named by Pope John Paul II in December 1986 to be Undersecretary of the Congregation for Religious in Rome. He was a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Communications.
In October 1992, he was named Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and served there until becoming the Bishop of Beaumont in May 1994. Bishop Galante served as Coadjutor Bishop of Dallas from January 2000 until April 2004, when he returned to the Philadelphia area. He was installed as seventh bishop of the Diocese of Camden and led that diocese for almost a decade. In a 2011 letter to Catholics in the Camden Diocese, Bishop Galante announced that he was suffering from severe health issues. He submitted a letter of resignation for health reasons in 2012 which was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI on January 8, 2013.