His Episcopal motto “We Adore You, O Christ” calls to mind the words of St. Francis: “We adore you, O Christ, here and in all your Churches throughout the whole world, and we bless you; because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”
The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan was named the Tenth Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse on June 11, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. Born on June 17, 1950, he is a Conventual Franciscan of the St. Bonaventure Province in Chicago. A Chicago native, he attended St. Mary Minor Seminary in Crystal Lake, Ill., and studied at Junior College, Chicago, before being accepted in the Novitiate of St. Bonaventure at Lake Forest, Ill. A graduate of Loyola University, Chicago, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Radio and Television Communications. He then earned his master’s of divinity degree from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto in 1976.
Bishop Callahan was ordained to the priesthood on April 30, 1977, by Milwaukee Archbishop William E. Cousins. After serving parishes in Milwaukee and Peoria, Ill., and working as Director of Vocations for his order, he returned to Milwaukee and the St. Josaphat congregation where he served as rector and pastor until 2005. At that time, he left the parish and went to serve as spiritual director for the Pontifical North American College in Rome until December 14, 2007.
Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Callahan an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on October 30, 2007. He was the first Conventual Franciscan to be named a bishop in the United States.
Bishop Callahan is known for his love of the Church and his love for his people. This love is also shown by his service to the greater church by his membership on the United States Council of Catholic Bishops boards for the Committee of Clergy, Consecrated Life & Vocations, Catholic Relief Services, and the National Religious Retirement Management He also serves on the board for the Mundelein Seminary and Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.
The youngest of four children, Callahan has two older sisters and one older brother. His parents, Ellen and William Callahan, are deceased.