Bishop McDowell was a giant of the Church, a national figure in Catholic education and an influential bishop in our national conference. It was his leadership that crafted one of the most important statements on religious education in the years after the Second Vatican Council, the United States bishops’ pastoral statement, “To Teach as Jesus Did.”
We remember him most of all as a priest, teacher, pastor, bishop, friend and advisor who loved the Church of Pittsburgh, loved his fellow priests, and lovingly served the faithful for so many years as a pastor, particularly at Epiphany Parish where he served from 1969 until his retirement in 1996.
Bishop McDowell also so much enjoyed the opportunity to interact with young people. He confirmed well over 100,000 young people and he always said that officiating at Confirmations was one of his greatest joys as a bishop.
I remember clearly how delighted he was that, in spite of already declining health, he was able to attend my installation as bishop of the Diocese in September 2007. His presence was so greatly reassuring to me.
I have lost a dear friend. We have lost a priest and bishop of deep faith and a generous heart who used his God-given gifts for the good of the Church that have blessed us in so many different ways.