Top left: Bishop Tod Brown retired as Bishop of Orange, Calif. in 2012. (Courtesy photo/Diocese of Orange)
Top right: Bishop Tod Brown with Saint John Paul II. (Courtesy photo/Diocese of Orange)
Right middle: Bishop Tod Brown with Bishop Sylvester Treinen, in Boise, 1989. (ICR photo/Archives)
Bottom middle: Father Wekerle, left, with Bishop Brown and Father Flores in Sun Valley in 2023. (Courtesy photo/Father Wekerle)
Bottom left and right: Bishop Tod Brown (Courtesy photo/Diocese of Orange)
By Emily Woodham
ORANGE COUNTY, CA — The Most Reverend Tod Brown, D.D. died on Sunday, Oct. 15, surrounded by friends, family and brother priests. He was 86.
“I would say that he was a transformational, visionary bishop,” said Father Ron Wekerle, pastor at Our Lady of Snows Parish in Sun Valley, who was ordained by Bishop Brown in 1990. “Bishop Brown initiated many pastoral, administrative and financial changes to the Diocese of Boise.”
Bishop Brown was appointed the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Boise following the retirement of Bishop Sylvester Treinen in 1988. He was ordained and installed as bishop of the Diocese on April 3, 1989, following 25 years of the episcopate of Bishop Treinen.
“Bishop Brown promoted a pastoral theology and systematically engaged the entire diocese in a conversation about how we could better care for the needs of parishes, given the dwindling number of priests and seminarians,” Father Wekerle said.
“Almost single-handedly, he put the Diocese on sound financial footing, especially regarding priest retirement. He was a very shy man, but he supported the priests, especially in times of great need. He provided priests with the necessary resources to be the pastoral leaders they were called to be, including providing them additional education.”
Bishop Brown was born in San Francisco on November 15, 1936, the first of two children born to George and Edna Anne Brown. His brother, Daniel Brown, lives in Orinda, California, with his wife Jeanne. He has two nieces, one nephew and six grand nephews.
Bishop Brown received his early education at various schools in Northern California. His seminary education and formation were at Ryan Seminary in Fresno, St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo and the North American College in Rome, Italy. He earned a B.A. from St. John’s Seminary, a STB from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome and a master’s degree in Biblical theology and education from the University of San Francisco.
Bishop Brown was ordained to the priesthood on May l, 1963, for the Diocese of Monterey in California. After serving the Diocese of Boise for nine years, he was installed as the third Bishop of the Diocese of Orange on September 3, 1998. During his 14-year episcopate at Orange, the Diocese acquired the 34-acre Crystal Cathedral, previously belonging to Orange County’s evangelical community, and consecrated the landmark as Christ Cathedral for the Diocese of Orange. Bishop Brown retired in December of 2012.
The vigil service for Bishop Brown is at Holy Family Church in Orange, Calif. at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29. The Mass of Christian Burial for him is at Christ Cathedral in Orange at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 30. A memorial Mass is being celebrated at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 807 N. 8th St., in Boise at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 30. All the faithful are invited to attend.
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