The Most Reverend

William Patrick Callahan


The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan, OFM. Conv., born June 17, 1950, 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., where he continued his formation from 1969 to 1970. From 1970 to 1973, he studied at Loyola University, Chicago, earning a bachelor's degree in Radio and Television Communications. He 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. His first priestly assignment was as associate pastor of the Basilica of St. Josaphat Parish, Milwaukee, from 1977 to 1978. Bishop Callahan then served as the director of vocations for the Conventual Franciscans from 1978 to 1984; as associate pastor of Holy Family Parish, Peoria, Ill., from 1984 to 1987; and as pastor of Holy Family Parish, Peoria, from 1987-1994.


In 1994, Bishop Callahan returned to Milwaukee and the St. Josaphat congregation. He served as rector and pastor of St. Josaphat Parish until 2005. At that time, he left the parish and went to serve as spiritual director for the Pontifical North American College, the seminary for Americans, 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. As an auxiliary bishop, Bishop Callahan serves the Church by helping the diocesan bishop in the pastoral and spiritual leadership of a diocese, and by assisting the diocesan bishop in his role as shepherd – through teaching, leading, serving and celebrating the sacraments with the people of the diocese.


On April 20, 2009, the College of Consultors elected him to serve as the administrator of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee until then Archbishop-designate Listecki was installed as Archbishop of Milwaukee on January 4, 2010. On June 11, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI named him as the Tenth Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse.


The youngest of four children, Callahan has two older sisters and one older brother. His parents, Ellen and William Callahan, are deceased.