The Most Reverend John O’Hara
Bishop O’Hara was ordained to the episcopacy by His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, on August 4, 2014, in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in mid-town Manhattan. Appointed by Cardinal Dolan as Episcopal Vicar of both southern Manhattan and Staten Island, Bishop O’Hara is also serving the archdiocese as Vicar for Planning.
Born on February 7, 1946, in Jersey City, New Jersey, the first of three sons of the late John Joseph and Helen Elizabeth O’Hara, Bishop O’Hara was raised in Ridgewood, New Jersey, graduating from Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in 1959, Don Bosco High School in Ramsey, New Jersey in 1963, and Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, with a BA degree in English in 1967.
Prior to entering Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, Yonkers, New York in September, 1980, the future bishop worked in the communications field, serving first at Radio Station WERA in Plainfield, New Jersey, from 1967 to 1969, and later, from 1971 to 1980, at Radio Station WMTR/WDHA in Morristown, New Jersey, where he was named the station’s News Director in 1978.
Upon completion of his priestly formation at Dunwoodie, the future bishop was ordained to the priesthood on December 1, 1984 in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral by the late John Cardinal O’Connor. He served as parochial vicar at Saint Charles Parish in Oakwood Heights, Staten Island, from December, 1984, until October, 1992, when he was transferred to the Parish of Saint Teresa of the Infant Jesus in Castleton Corners, Staten Island. After eight years as parochial vicar, Bishop O’Hara was appointed Pastor of Saint Teresa’s on July 1, 2000, by the late Edward Cardinal Egan. During his years on Staten Island, Bishop O’Hara was very involved in ecumenical/interreligious dialogue, seeking to build bridges of communication and understanding among the Island’s very diverse faith communities…an involvement that continues to this day and has expanded to include Manhattan.
Following twelve years as pastor, Bishop O’Hara was appointed the first Director of the Office of Strategic Pastoral Planning by Cardinal Dolan on July 1, 2012. In this capacity, Bishop O’Hara supervised the ongoing reorganization of parishes throughout the archdiocese…a process that is continuing under his guidance in his role as Vicar for Planning.
Bishop O’Hara was appointed by Cardinal Dolan as a member of the ecumenical/interfaith Committee of Religious Leaders, which meets on a regular basis to address issues of community concern and to provide leadership in promoting understanding and dialogue among all peoples living with the five boros of New York City. A chaplain to and member of both the Knights of Malta and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Bishop O’Hara also serves as a board member of the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America.
His Holiness, Pope Francis, appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of New York on June 14, 2014. In April, 2015, Bishop O’Hara returned to Staten Island to take up residence in the rectory of Saint Charles Parish, where he began as a newly ordained priest in December, 1984.