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George Henry Guilfoyle (November 13, 1913 – June 11, 1991) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Camden from 1968 to 1989.


The second oldest of five children, George Guilfoyle was born in New York City to James J. and Johanna (née McGrath) Guilfoyle.[1] After graduating from Regis High School in 1931, he studied at Georgetown University, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1935.[2] In 1939 he earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from Fordham University and was admitted to the New York Bar.[3] Guilfoyle soon abandoned his legal career and entered St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers.[2] He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francis Spellman on March 25, 1944.[4] He earned a Master of Laws from Columbia University that same year.[3]

Guilfoyle then served as a curate at St. Patrick's Cathedral until 1945, when he was transferred to St. Andrew's Church.[2] He served as assistant chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York from 1946 to 1947, and was named director of social research (1947), assistant executive director (1954), and executive director (1956) of Catholic Charities.[2] During his leadership at Catholic Charities, he directed the operation of 199 separate institutions and agencies.[1] He was raised to the rank of a Papal Chamberlain in 1955 and later a Domestic Prelate in 1957.[2]

On October 17, 1964, Guilfoyle was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York and Titular Bishop of Marazanae by Pope Paul VI.[4] He received his episcopal consecration on November 30 from Cardinal Spellman, with Bishop Christopher Joseph Weldon and John Joseph Maguire serving as co-consecrators, at St. Patrick's Cathedral.[4] He remained executive director of Catholic Charities until 1966, when he became episcopal vicar of Staten Island and pastor of St. Peter's Church.[3] Following the death of Archbishop Celestine Damiano, Guilfoyle was named the fourth Bishop of Camden, New Jersey, on January 2, 1968.[4] He was installed at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on March 4, 1968.[5]

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968, Guilfoyle described racism as "not a mere myth but an ugly reality" and urged Catholics to "purge every fragment of racism among us."[5] He established a Diocesan Pastoral Council and directed every parish to establish a parish council in 1968.[5] He also established the Office of Pastoral Planning, Office of Evangelization, and Secretariat for Education.[1] He advocated "the right to life from conception to old age," and established the Pro-Life Office in 1973.[5] During his tenure, he erected eight parishes, eleven convents, twenty-three churches, thirty-seven rectories, and six schools.[5] A retreat house was acquired by the diocese, special education facilities were expanded and a Newman Centre erected at Glassboro State College.[1] Nursing homes were constructed and acquired, as well as the establishment of two complexes for the elderly, Victorian Towers and St. Mary's Village.[1] Evangelization in the Hispanic community, through religious service and social ministry, was accomplished through a newly-established Hispanic Apostolate; Spanish-language Masses in many South Jersey parishes were instituted, while the diocese worked to obtain Spanish-speaking priests and religious for pastoral work among Hispanics.[5]

He served for many years on the Administrative Board of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, holding membership on a number of its committees, including those on priestly life and ministry, conciliation and arbitration (on which he also served as chairman), bishops, diocesan boundaries, budget and finance, Latin America, ecumenical, and motion pictures.[1] Within the Roman Curia, he was a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints from 1969 to 1975.[1]

After twenty-one years as Bishop of Camden, Guilfoyle retired on May 13, 1989.[4] He was hospitalized for a respiratory ailment in May 1991.[3] He died shortly afterwards at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, aged 77.[3]

Bishop Guilfoyle Regional Catholic School in Carneys Point is named in his honor.


Preceded by
Celestine Damiano
Bishop of Camden
Succeeded by
James T. McHugh


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