Archdiocese of Mobile

Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi

Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi

Most Reverend Thomas J. Rodi, a native of New Orleans, graduated from De La Salle High School in 1967 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University in 1971. He returned to New Orleans where he earned a law degree from the Tulane University Law School in 1974, and then entered Notre Dame Seminary, where he received a master of divinity degree in 1978.

Archbishop Rodi was ordained to the priesthood on May 20, 1978, and served as associate pastor at St. Ann and St. Christopher the Martyr parishes, in Metairie, and at St. Agnes in Jefferson.

In 1983 he was appointed judge for the Archdiocese of New Orleans Metropolitan Tribunal. He earned a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1986, and served as professor of canon law at Notre Dame Seminary from 1986 to 1995.

Archbishop Rodi served in New Orleans as director of the Office of Religious Education from 1988 to 1989, and as executive director of the Department of Pastoral Services from 1989 to 1996.

In addition to his other duties, Archbishop Rodi was Chancellor for the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1992, and in 1996, he was named Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.

In 1992, he was named a prelate of honor (a monsignor) by Pope John Paul II.

He was ordained a bishop and installed as Bishop of Biloxi on July 2, 2001.

He was appointed Archbishop of Mobile on April 2, 2008 and installed on June 6, 2008.


Curriculum Vitae

Born March 27, 1949 in New Orleans, Louisiana

De La Salle Catholic High School, New Orleans, Louisiana – Graduated 1967
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. – A.B. 1971
Tulane University, School of Law, New Orleans, Louisiana – J.D. 1974
Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana – M. Div. 1974
The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. – J.C.L. 1986

Parochial Information
Served as Associate Pastor in a number of parishes
Pastor, St. Rita Parish, New Orleans

Non-Parochial Information
Admitted to the Bar, State of Louisiana – 1974
Ordained Priest, Archdiocese of New Orleans – May 20, 1978
Professor, Cannon law, Notre Dame Seminary – 1986 to 1995
Chancellor, Archdiocese of New Orleans – 1992 to 2001
Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia, Archdiocese of New Orleans – 1996 to 2001
Appointed by the Holy Father, Bishop, Diocese of Biloxi – May 15, 2001
Installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi – July 2, 2001
Appointed by the Holy Father, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Mobile – April 2, 2008
Installed, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Mobile – June 6, 2008


Armorial Bearings of the Most Reverend Thomas Rodi, DD
Ninth Bishop and Second Metropolitan Archbishop of Mobile, Alabama

Arms impaled. Dexter: Azure issuant from a crescent in base Argent a rosebush with three blossoms all Or. Sinister: Azure a cross throughout Or; in the first quarter the Greek letter “Alpha,” in the second quarter a star, in the third quarter a magnolia blossom and in the fourth quarter the Greek letter “Omega” all Argent. Ensigned with a patriarchal cross in pale behind the shield OR and a galero with cords and twenty tassels disposed on either side of the shield in four rows of one, two, three and four all Vert.

The archbishop’s coat of arms is composed of a shield upon which there are symbolic charges, a motto and the external ornaments of rank. The shield which is the center and most important feature of any heraldic device is blazoned (i.e., described) in heraldic language from the point of view of the bearer with the shield being held on his arm. Therefore, the terms dexter (right) and sinister (left) are reversed as the arms are viewed from the front.

It is customary in North America for the coat of arms of the bishop and those of his (arch)diocese to be marshaled together and depicted on the same shield. The coat of arms of Archbishop Rodi and the Archdiocese of Mobile are displayed side by side. This is called impaling the arms. In addition to being the most common method used in North America it is also one of the ways to depict the coats of arms of two spouses. Using impalement is one of the ways that the Archbishop shows he is “married’ to his archdiocese.

The left side of the shield shows the arms of the Archdiocese of Mobile which depict a blue background on which is a silver (white) crescent moon toward the bottom. This is a symbol of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception which is the titular of the cathedral-basilica. From this crescent springs a rosebush that has three roses. The blossoms, leaves and stem are all gold (yellow).

For his personal arms, seen in the sinister impalement (right side) of the shield Archbishop Rodi has adopted a design to reflect his life and heritage.

The arms are composed of a blue background on which is displayed a gold (yellow) cross of faith which His Excellency has been called to serve in the ministerial priesthood. The Sacred Scriptures remind us that we preach Jesus Christ crucified and glory in the cross of our Lord. Within the quarters that are created by the cross on the field are an “Alpha” and an “Omega,” to signify that in all that the bishop does the beginning and the end of all things is to be the Lord Jesus Christ, as written in the Book of Revelation. In the other quarters of the design are: a star alluding to “Our Lady of Prompt Succor.” His signifies that Mary is the brightest star on life’s vast ocean. Just as a star guides a seafarer to the safety of a port, Mary guides us to the Lord. A magnolia blossom is located in the final quarter of the coat of arms. The magnolia symbolizes Bishop Rodi’s southern heritage. It is the state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi, honoring the people that His Excellency has had the honor to serve in his priestly ministry in the archdiocese of New Orleans, as well as in the Diocese of Biloxi.

For his motto, Archbishop Rodi has selected the Latin phrase “CARITAS CHRISTI URGET NOS.” This phrase, which is taken from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians (2Cor 5:14), expresses the archbishop’s firm belief that it is the “Love of Christ [which] compels us” to do all that we do for one another.

The shield is ensigned with a gold (yellow) patriarchal cross with two horizontal bars. In heraldry the cross behind the shield is the true emblem of Episcopal heraldry. The patriarchal, or metropolitical, cross developed as a way of distinguishing the cross used for archbishops from that used for bishops. In addition, above the shield is the green ecclesiastical hat called a “gallero” with twenty tassels pendant on both sides. This broad brimmed hat, once worn in cavalcades, is no longer used but remains as a heraldic emblem. The original color worn by bishops and archbishops was green, not purple. This “episcopal color” is retained in heraldry. These external ornaments are those used for a prelate with the rank of Archbishop according to the Instruction of the Holy See, Ut Sive, of March, 1969.

Archbishop Rodi’s original coat of arms was marshaled to those of the Archdiocese of Mobile and emblazoned by the Rev. Fr. Guy W. Selvester, a priest of the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ.

Archbishop Oscar Hugh Lipscomb

Archbishop Oscar Hugh Lipscomb, D.D., Ph.D

Archbishop Oscar Hugh Lipscomb was born September 21, 1931, in Mobile, Alabama. He retired as the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Mobile in 2008. He is the first Archbishop of Mobile and its eighth bishop. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mobile-Birmingham on July 15,1956. He was appointed Archbishop of Mobile on July 29, 1980,and consecrated on November 16, 1980, by his predecessor, Archbishop John Lawrence May. The Diocese of Mobile was elevated to the Archdiocese of Mobile on the date Lipscomb was appointed its first archbishop.

He attended McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, in Mobile, Alabama, then known as McGill Institute, where today an athletic complex is named in his honor. He acquired his Ph.D. in History from The Catholic University of America, in 1963.

Lipscomb served as a parish priest in Mobile and as an educator at McGill Institute and Spring Hill College. He was appointed chancellor of the Mobile archdiocese in 1966, and served in that capacity until he was appointed Archbishop of Mobile in 1980.

Archbishop Lipscomb died on July 15, 2020, and is entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile, AL

Archbishop John Lawrence May

Archbishop John Lawrence May, D.D.

Archbishop John Lawrence May (born March 31, 1922 Evanston, Illinois – died March 24, 1994 St. Louis, Missouri) was an American leader in the Roman Catholic Church.

May was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1947. In 1967 he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Chicago. In 1969 he was appointed bishop of Diocese of Mobile (now Archdiocese of Mobile) in Mobile, Alabama.

In 1980, he was named Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri, succeeding Cardinal John Carberry. He served in that position until his retirement in 1992.

An interim administrator led the Archdiocese of St. Louis after May’s retirement until Justin Rigali was appointed Archbishop in 1994.

Immediately before his retirement, Archbishop May was diagnosed with brain cancer. He died in 1994 and was buried in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (then known simply as the New Cathedral).

Archbishop Thomas Joseph Toolen

Archbishop Thomas Joseph Toolen, D.D.

Archbishop Thomas Joseph Toolen born February 28, 1886, in Baltimore, Maryland, was a Roman Catholic bishop and the sixth Bishop of Mobile. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mobile on September 27, 1910. He was appointed Bishop of Mobile on February 28, 1927,and consecrated on May 4, 1927. The Diocese of Mobile was renamed the Diocese of Mobile-Birmingham on May 27, 1954, at which time Toolen was appointed Archbishop (Personal Title) of Mobile-Birmingham.


Toolen retired when the diocese split into the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama and the Diocese of Mobile, on September 29, 1969. Upon retirement, he was named Titular Archbishop of Glastonia. He died December 4, 1976, and is entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile, Alabama.

He established Bishop Toolen High School, in Mobile, Alabama, in 1928. Toolen Hall, on the campus of Spring Hill College, is named in his honor.

Bishop Edward Patrick Allen

Bishop Edward Patrick Allen, D.D.

Bishop Edward Patrick Allen, born March 17, 1853, in Lowell, Massachusetts, the son of John and Mary (Egan) Allen. He was educated at Mount St. Mary’s College and Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He was award an M.A. cum laude in 1878. On December 17, 1881 he was ordained a priest in Emmitsburg by Bishop Thomas Becker of Savannah. He remained at mount St. Mary’s as a member of the faculty from 1881 to 1882, teaching Greek and English. In 1881 he returned to Boston where he was appointed parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He subsequently was assigned to pastoral work in Framingham and a chaplaincy at the state reformatory in Sherborn.

Returning to Mount St. Mary’s in 1884, he was appointed it vice president, being chosen as president in June 1885. He remained president of Mount St. Mary’s until he was appointed fifth Bishop of Mobile on April 19, 1897 by Pope Leo XIII. He was ordained a bishop on May 16, 1897 in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Baltimore by James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore assisted by Bishop Edward Fitzgerald of Little Rock and Bishop Matthew Harkins of Providence.

In 1889 Georgetown University conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

Under Bishop Allen’s care, the Catholic population of the Diocese of Mobile more than doubled as did the number of priests. He obtained the services of the Josephite Order to minster to the African Americans. He founded new parishes, schools, and charitable institutions. He oversaw the rebuilding of churches which were destroyed or damaged during the September 1906 hurricane which devastated Mobile.

Bishop Allen on died October 21, 1926, and is entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile, Alabama.

Bishop Jeremia O'Sullivan

Bishop Jeremiah O’Sullivan D.D.

Bishop Jeremiah O’Sullivan (1842 – 1896), born February 6, 1842 in Kanturk, County Cork, Ireland, served as a Roman Catholic bishop and as the fourth Bishop of Mobile.

O’Sullivan went to the United States in 1863, and received ordination to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Baltimore on June 30, 1868. He was appointed Bishop of Mobile on June 16, 1885, and ordained on September 20, 1885, by Cardinal, then Archbishop James Gibbons. He died on August 10, 1896, and is entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile, Alabama.

Bishop Dominic Manucy

Bishop Dominic Manucy D.D.

Bishop Dominic Manucy, born December 20, 1828, in St. Augustine, Florida, was a Roman Catholic bishop and the third Bishop of Mobile, USA. After theological studies at Spring Hill College, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Mobile on August 15, 1850. He was named Vicar Apostolic of the newly established Vicariate of Brownsville, Texas and was appointed Titular Bishop of Dulma on December 8, 1874.

Manucy was appointed Bishop of Mobile January 18, 1884, and was installed March 30, 1884. Though Bishop of Mobile, he still remained the Vicar Apostolic of Brownsville. He resigned as Bishop of Mobile on September 27, 1884, to return to Brownsville, but died in Mobile, February 7, 1885, before he could return to Brownsville. He is entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile, Alabama.

Bishop John Quinlan

Bishop John Quinlan D.D.

Bishop John Quinlan, born October 19, 1826, in Cloyne, Ireland, was a Roman Catholic bishop and the second Bishop of Mobile. He migrated to the United States in 1844 and was ordained to the priesthood for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cincinnati on August 30, 1852. He was named Bishop of Mobile on September 26, 1859, and consecrated December 4, 1859, by Archbishop Antoine Blanc in St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans.

In his diocese he found twelve churches and fourteen schools for which he had only eight secular priests and he therefore brought from Ireland eleven young candidates for the priesthood. Bishop Quinlan’s administration fell upon the storm days of the American Civil War. After the battle of Shiloh, he hastened on a special train to the blood-stained battle-ground and ministered to the temporal and spiritual wants of North and South. After the war diocesan activities were crippled. Nevertheless, besides repairing ruined churches, Bishop Quinlan built the portico of the Mobile cathedral, founded St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s churches in the same city, and established churches in Huntsville, Decatur, Tuscumbia, Florence, Cullman, Birmingham, Eufaula, Whistler, and Toulminville. April, 1876, Bishop Quinlan invited the Benedictines from St. Vincent’s Abbey, Pennsylvania., to the diocese, and they settled at Cullman, Alabama.

He died March 9, 1883, and is entombed under the portico of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, in Mobile, Alabama.

Quinlan Hall, on the campus of Spring Hill College, is named in his honor.

Bishop Michael Portier

Bishop Michael Portier D.D.

Bishop Michael Portier, born Sep 7, 1795, in Montbrison, France, was a Roman Catholic bishop and the first Bishop of Mobile. He migrated to the United States in 1817. After completing his studies at St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of St. Louis, by Bishop Louis William Valentine Dubourg, on May 16, 1818. Eight years later, on August 26, 1825, he was consecrated titular Bishop of Oleno by Bishop Joseph Rosati, and became the first, and only, Vicar Apostolic of the new Vicariate of Alabama and the Floridas.

At the time of his accession he was the only clergyman in the vicariate and had only three parishes, Mobile, St. Augustine, and Pensacola. Bishop Portier began his administration by riding through his vicariate, offering the Holy Eucharist, preaching, and administering the Sacraments as he went.

He sailed for Europe in 1829, in quest of assistants, and returned with a few seminarians and a priest, Father Mathias Loras. On May 15, 1829, the vicariate was raised to the Diocese of Mobile, and Bishop Portier was made its first bishop. His cathedral was a little church twenty feet wide by fifty feet deep, his residence a still smaller two-roomed frame structure. A new cathedral was begun in 1837, and on December 8, 1850, Bishop Portier consecrated the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Also in 1850, the eastern portion of Florida was detached from the Diocese of Mobile and annexed to the newly-created Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah.

In 1830, Bishop Portier established Spring Hill College, and named Father Mathias Loras its head. Loras served in that role until he was consecrated Bishop of Dubuque, December 10, 1837, by Bishop Portier, who also consecrated another president of Spring Hill, the Rev. John Stephen Bazin, third Bishop of Vincennes, 24 October, 1847.

In 1833 he secured from the Visitation convent, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., a colony of nuns who established the Visitation Convent and girls school in Mobile. He brought the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, from France, about 1847, and the Daughters of Charity, from Emmitsburg, Maryland, to manage orphan asylums for boys and girls respectively. One of his last acts was the foundation of a hospital at Mobile, presently known as Providence Hospital, administered, then and now, by the Daughters of Charity.

He died May 14, 1859, and is entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Mobile, Alabama.