History & Ordinary of the Diocese of Reno




Pope Benedict XVI

Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Jesus Christ,
Successor of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles,
Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church,
Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province,
Sovereign of Vatican City

The direct successor of St. Peter was born in Marktl am Inn, Germany, April 16, 1927. He was ordained Priest on July 29, 1951. From 1962 to 1965 he was present during all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council as a chief theological advisor. On March 24, 1977, Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of München un Freising (Munich and Freising). He was ordained a Bishop on May 28, 1977. He was created and proclaimed a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI on June 27, 1977. He was elected Pope on April 19, 2005.




Reverend Randolph R. Calvo was born on August 28, 1951 in Agana, Guam. He is the seventh and youngest child of Maria Guadalupe and Ricardo Calvo, both deceased. His family moved to San Francisco in 1957, where he attended local schools. He received his Master in Divinity from St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, California, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco on May 21, 1977. He was ordained as the seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Reno on February 17, 2006

After serving in two parishes as parochial vicar, he was sent to study canon law in Rome. In 1986, he received a doctorate in canon law from the University of St. Thomas. From 1987 to 1997, he headed the canon law department as judicial vicar of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. He was elected and served as president of the Canon Law Society of America in 1996, a professional association based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Since July 1, 1997, he has been the pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Redwood City, California, a culturally diverse and multi-ethnic community.

In addition to these assignments, he has served as a member of the Archdiocesan College of Consultors, the Council of Priests, the Priest Personnel Board, the Stewardship Council, the Independent Review Board, the Board of Trustees of the Roman Catholic Welfare Corporation, and the Board of Trustees of St. Patrick’s Seminary. He has been dean of the southern San Mateo County Deanery, a lecturer in Pastoral Studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary and an instructor for the Institute on Matrimonial Tribunal Practice at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Bishop Straling  

Most Reverend Phillip F. Straling, D.D., was ordained a Priest of the Roman Catholic Church on March 19, 1959: named the first Bishop of the newly established Diocese of San Bernardino on July 18, 1978: ordained a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church on November 6, 1978: appointed the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Reno on March 21, 1995; installed on June 29, 1995.  He retired on June 21, 2005.


• Established: March 27, 1931 as the Diocese of Reno by His Holiness Pope Pius XI; Canonical erection of the Diocese, August 19, 1931; Redesignated Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas by Pope Pal VI, October 13 1976; Redesignated as the Diocese of Reno by Pope John Paul II March 21, 1995

• Legal Title: "The Roman Catholic Bishop of Reno, and His Successors, a Corporation Sole."

• The Diocese of Reno includes the following counties: Washoe, Humboldt, Elko, Eureka, Lander, Pershing, Churchill, Mineral, Lyon, Carson City, Storey and Douglas.

• Patrons of the Diocese: Our Lady of the Snows (August 5); The Holy Family (Sunday in the Octave of Christmas); Established through an Apostolic Brief dated August 24, 1933

• Dedication of St. Thomas Aguinas, July, 1907; Elevated to a Cathedral, March 27, 1931; Dedicated Cathedral Church, August 19, 1931

• First Diocesan Synod, September 27, 1957

• Principal Centers (in order of population) - 35,000 or more residents: Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Elko

• There are 28 parishes, 8 missions; 2 stations; 1 hospital; 1 day home; 4 elementary schools; and 1 high school.

• There are 46 priests; 36 sisters; 3 brothers; 8 permanent deacons.

• Square Miles: 70,852

• General Population: 573,630


Bishop Gorman
Most Reverend Thomas K. Gorman D.D., D. Sc. Hist.

Ordained on June 23, 1917; appointed Bishop of Reno, April 24, 1931 and consecrated on July 22, 1931; appointed Co-Adjutor Bishop of Dallas cum jure successionis on February 8, 1952; succeeded to the See on August 19, 1954; resigned August 27, 1969; died August 16, 1980

Bishop Dwyer
Most Reverend Robert J. Dwyer, D.D., Ph.D.

Ordained on June 11, 1932; appointed May 20, 1952 consecrated August 5, 1952. Elevated to Archiepiscopal Dignity and promoted to Portland in Oregon, December 14, 1966; resigned January 22, 1974; died March 24, 1976

Bishop Green
Most Reverend Joseph Green D.D.

Ordained July 14, 1946: appointed Titular Bishop of Trisipa and Auxiliary of Lansing, June 22, 1962; consecrated August 28, 1962; promoted to Bishop of Reno on March 10, 1967; installed as Bishop May 25, 1967; resigned December 6, 1974; died on August 31, 1982

Bishop McFarland
Most Reverend Norman F. McFarland D.D. J.C.D.

Ordained on June 15, 1946; appointed Titular Bishop of Bida and Auxiliary of San Francisco on June 5, 1970; ordained Bishop September 8, 1970; appointed Apostolic Administrator of Reno December 6, 1974: appointed Bishop of Reno on February 10, 1976; transferred to Orange on December 29, 1986; installed as Bishop of Orange on February 24, 1987. Retired June 30, 1998

Bishop Walsh
Most Reverend Daniel F. Walsh, D.D.

Ordained a priest on March 30, 1963; appointed Titular Bishop of Tigia and Auxiliary of San francisco; ordained Bishop, September 24, 1981; appointed Bishop of Reno-Las Vegas on June 9, 1987; installed on August 6, 1987; appointed first Bishop of the newly established Diocese of Las Vegas on March 21, 1995; installed on June 28, 1995.


Although Nevada was the last of the 48 contiguos states to embrace its own diocese, the Church has a long and colorful history within the state. Many flags and jurisdictions dominated the area that eventually became the Diocese of Reno.

Originally, the State of Nevada was under the jurisdiction of Mexico and formed a part of the Diocese of Sonora. From 1840 to 1846, the area was under the jurisdiction of Bishop Garcia Diego y Moreno, first Bishop of California.

Shortly thereafter, it became apart of the Diocese of Monterey, which in 1853, was divided, and its Bishop, the Most Reverend Sadoc Alemany, became first Archbishop of the new Archiepiscopal See of San Francisco, which included Washoe County.

By 1860, another division became necessary. The area was divided so that the portion from the Pacific Ocean to the west boundary of Utah and north of the thirty-ninth parallel remained under the jurisdiction of San Francisco.

In 1868, the vicariate was raised to the dignity of a Diocese and its See was changed to Grass Valley under Bishop O'Connell. Shortly thereafter, mote territory was added to the Diocese from the Arcdiocese of San Francisco including the City of Sacramento.

During this period, Bishop Patrick Manogue of Virginia City, Nevada, had been made Co-Adjutor with right of succession, and soon after succeeding, he transferred his See city to Sacramento.

With strong, steady growth within the State of Nevada, it became necessary to revise the boundaries from east-west to north-south. Seven counties - Elko, Lander, Eureka, White Pine, Nye, Lincoln, and later, when it came into existence, Clark, were transferred to the Diocese of Salt Lake, which had been established January 20, 1891. The remaining counties, Esmeralda, Mineral, Lyon, Churchill, Douglas, Ormsby, Storey, Washoe, Humboldt, and later when it was established, Pershing, remained in the Diocese of Sacramento. This alignment continued until the establishment of the Diocese of Reno on March 27, 1931.

The Diocese of Reno was founded almost by chance because of a visit to San Francisco by  Chicago's Cardinal Mundelein. During a lengthy ride through the vast expanses of the West, the Cardinal asked the location of the train at that particular point. When informed that the train was traveling through Nevada, he asked who served as Bishop for this huge area. He was astonished to learn that of all the 48 states, Nevada was the only one without its own Bishop. Upon his  return to the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Mundelein soon rectified the situation.

Pope Pius XI created the Diocese of Reno on March 27, 1931, with St. Thomas Aquinas as the  Cathedral Church. The new Diocese comprised the entire State of Nevada. Its area of 110,540 square miles made it the largest ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the lower forty-eight states. The western half of the Diocese had been part of the Diocese of Sacramento; the eastern part, that of Salt Lake City.

Father Thomas K. Gorman, a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and editor of the diocesan newspaper, The Tidings, was named first Bishop. At that time, Nevada's 91,058 citizens, along with everyone else in the United States, were facing the Great Depression. Bishop Gorman could call on thirteen priests to serve the entire Diocese with its 8,500 Catholics. Reno, Carson City, and Las Vegas each had a parish; the other parishes served Nevada's smaller towns. For twentyone years, Thomas Gorman worked tirelessly, founding new parishes, fostering Catholic Life, seeking vocations, and striving to make the Diocese self-sufficient. Gorman was named Co-Adjutor Bishop of Dallas-Fort Worth in 1952, succeeding to the See in 1954. He retired in 1969, and died August 16, 1980, just one year short of the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese.

Monsignor Robert J. Dwyer succeeded Bishop Gorman, coming to Reno as its second Bishop from Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was Rector of the Cathedral. When the newly consecrated Bishop arrived on August 19, 1952, Nevada was experiencing a period of great growth, especially in the Las Vegas area. On September 27, 1957, the first Diocesan Synod was convened by the Bishop at the Cathedral, under the guidance of Father Joseph F: Linde. Bishop Dwyer oversaw the construction of new schools and churches, as well as the renovation of St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral itself. Dwyer earned a national reputation as both a writer and speaker. He was appointed Archbishop of Portland, Oregon in December 1966. He retired from the See in 1974, and died on March 24, 1976.

Reno's third Bishop came in the person of Bishop M. Joseph Green, Auxiliary Bishop of Lansing, Michigan. Bishop Green sought to implement the reforms of Vatican Council II throughout the Diocese. He instituted the Catholic Services Appeal, the annual fund raising effort that continues to support diocesan services today. Traveling widely, he successfully attracted numerous young men to Nevada to serve as priests. He fostered a spirit of ecumenism toward other religious groups and was active in civic affairs. A series of illnesses took their toil, and Bishop Green retired to Michigan in 1974. He died on August 31, 1982.

Bishop Norman F. McFarland, Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco, came to Nevada in the midst of a financial crisis for the Diocese in April 1974. He was named Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese in December of that year. He struggled to bring financial stability with the initial collegial assistance of the American Bishops. Indefatigable as a worker, he visited every parish and mission in the Diocese on a regular basis. On December 29, 1986, Bishop McFarland was appointed to the Diocese of Orange, California and was installed as second Bishop of Orange on February 24, 1987.

Bishop McFarland subsequently petitioned Pope Paul Vl to redesignate the Diocese of Reno as the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas with Guardian Angel Shrine in Las Vegas as Co-Cathedral. This official act occurred in October 1976. In 1981, the Church in Nevada proudly celebrated its Jubilee marking 50 years as a Diocese and marking as well more than a century and a quarter of Catholic life in Nevada.

On June 9, 1987, Pope Paul II named Bishop Daniel F. Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco as fifth Bishop of Reno-Las Vegas. His Canonical Installation was celebrated at Guardian Angel Cathedral, Las Vegas, on August 6, 1987, before Most Reverend Pio Laghi, Apostolic Pro Nuncio to the United States, with Archbishop John R. Quinn, Metropolitan Archbishop of San Francisco, as the Installing Prelate. He established a Chancery Office and residence in Las Vegas to be more available to the needs of the Church in Southern Nevada where 58% of the Catholic population live. He made many pastoral visits to all the parishes throughout the Diocese.

In his first seven years as Bishop, he established several new parishes. The Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer in Las Vegas was established to service the tourists and visitors. Numerous building projects were underway to keep up with the growth in The state. Ministry to the growing Hispanic population had been a center of focus for Bishop Walsh.

Because of the growth in Nevada and the great distance between the communities of Reno and Las Vegas, the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II decided to divide the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas into two separate dioceses: The Diocese of Reno and the Diocese of Las Vegas. Bishop Walsh became the first Bishop of Las Vegas.

At noon, Rome time, on March 21, 1995, Pope John Paul II announced the appointment of Most Reverend Phillip F. Straling as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Reno.

Bishop Phillip F. Straling was born on April 25, 1933. He was educated at Immaculate Heart and St. Francis Seminaries in San Diego, California. He was ordained for the Diocese of San Diego on March 19, 1959. He served in various parishes in that area and spent twelve years as campus minister for San Diego State University. He was ordained First Bishop of the newly created Diocese of San Bernardino November 6, 1978, when he was serving as pastor of Holy Rosary Church in that city. In addition to establishing new parishes and helping small parishes build larger and newer churches, he also established a Lay Ministry Program and a Diaconate Program in English and in Spanish.
Bishop Straling was installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Reno June 29, 1995. Since coming to the Diocese of Reno, Bishop Straling has established a Lay Ministry Formation process and many other programs. He established a new parish, St. Rose of Lima, in south Reno, and elevated the Mission of St. Ann's in Dayton to a parish. In 2001 the Diaconate Formation process was established. In the spirit of collaborative ministry, the Diaconate and Lay Ministry Formation programs are being held together, with specialized training taking place in the final year of preparation. Many people and parishes have benefitted because of Bishop Straling's
emphasis on lay ministry and ongoing adult faith formation.