Bishop Joseph Bernard Brunini

Bishop Joseph Bernard Brunini
Born: July 24, 1909 – Vicksburg
Ordained a Priest for Natchez: Dec. 5, 1933
Ordained a Bishop: Jan. 29, 1957
Apostolic Administrator for Natchez-Jackson: July 11, 1966
Installed: Jan. 29, 1968
Retired: Jan. 24, 1984
Died: Jan. 7, 1996
Episcopal Motto: God and Neighbor

In 1967, Joseph Bernard Brunini was named eighth Bishop of the Diocese and was installed the following year at St. Peter Co-Cathedral in Jackson, having been appointed Auxiliary Bishop in 1957 by Pope Pius XII. Bishop Brunini is our only native Mississippi vocation to serve as bishop in our 175 year history.

In 1969, Hurricane Camille struck the Gulf Coast, destroying St. Paul Church in Pass Christian, St. Thomas Church in Long Beach, and St. Clare Church in Waveland, and extensively damaging other church structures. This challenge was one of many that Bishop Brunini undertook with strength and determination.

His administration was quite diverse — implementation of Vatican II, the continuing Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War.

He oversaw peaceful school desegregation in Mississippi’s Catholic schools, and as a strong leader addressing such issues as ecumenism, evangelization, poverty, and social justice, Bishop Brunini helped form the interfaith Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference in 1970 and served as its first chairman.