provided by Br. James Butler, FSC
Washington, DC — The Holy See announced that Pope Francis has named two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, (AMS). His Holiness elected Father William (Bill) Muhm, Captain, Navy Chaplain Corps (Ret.), titular Bishop-elect of Capsus, and Father Joseph L. Coffey, Captain (Select), Navy Chaplain Corps, titular Bishop-elect of Arsacalitan, who is a 1978 alumnus of Archbishop Carroll (then conducted by the Christian Brothers) and a 1982 Alumnus of La Salle University.
Father Coffey said: “I am humbled and honored to have been chosen by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to assist Archbishop Broglio in his duties as the chief shepherd for the AMS. I am extremely grateful to my three shepherds from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Justin Cardinal Rigali, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who have given me the necessary permission to serve on active duty in the US Navy Chaplain Corps for these last 17 years.”
Bishop-Elect Joseph L. Coffey
Bishop-elect Joseph L. Coffey, son of the late Dr. William F. X Coffey, M.D. (graduate of West Catholic), and Roseanita Schubert Coffey, was born in Rochester, MN, on May 31, 1960. He is the fifth of nine children and the proud uncle of 46 nieces and nephews and 12 great nieces and nephews. He was raised in Philadelphia and is a life-long fan of all the Philly sports teams.
Father Coffey graduated from La Salle University in 1982 with a double major in English/French which included a year of study at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. After college, Father Coffey worked as a grade school teacher, a ski instructor in Switzerland, and in the automobile industry in Germany and Belgium for five years.
Heeding a call to the priesthood, he attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree (MDiv) and was ordained in 1996 by Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua. He earned a Master of Arts (MA) in Moral Theology, also from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 2000.
While still in seminary, Father Coffey was given permission by Cardinal Bevilacqua to enter the U.S. Navy Chaplain Candidate Program in May of 1992 with the rank of Ensign. He stayed in the Navy Reserve for the next nine years. Father Coffey also frequently assisted with Masses at Ocean Rest.
Following ordination in 1996, Father Coffey was assigned as an Associate Pastor to St. Katherine of Siena parish in Philadelphia, PA. After five years in parish ministry, he was given permission by Cardinal Bevilacqua for full-time active duty as a Navy Chaplain in September of 2001.
Father Coffey’s military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with 2 gold stars, the Navy Achievement Medal with 2 gold stars, the Navy Sea Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the NATO Service Medal, 3 Battle E Ribbons.
“I have been so blessed,” Father Coffey said, “to have had two loving parents who gave me the gift of life and sharing the Catholic faith with me and a very large extended family, who have made my life so full, meaningful and joyful. I have tried to share that with the good people of St. Katherine’s parish as an Assistant pastor and the Sailors, Marines, and ‘Coasties’ that I have served with as a priest chaplain. I am grateful to the many priest friends who have shared this beautiful calling to the priesthood with me, who have led by holy example, and who have shared this adventure of life and the priesthood with me. I pray that I will serve the Lord and his people in the Military well in this new responsibility. I ask for your prayers for me and be assured of mine every day.”