It is with great sadness that we received word of the death of Bishop Raymond Boland, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Bishop Boland returned to Ireland last week and was received into hospice care for lung cancer. He died yesterday afternoon, Thursday, February 27th at approximately 3:30 p.m. Central Time. He led the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese from 1993 until his retirement in 2005. He previously was the Bishop of Birmingham, Alabama. He was known for his pastoral nature, entrusting the lay members of the diocese with leadership, and his Irish love of conversation. He was 82 years old.
Fr. Bill Hubmann, C.PP.S. sent the following remembrance of Bishop Boland:
Humble Servant Smells of Sheep
Bishop Boland would occasionally call and say that he had the weekend free and ask if he could he come and have the Sunday mass at St. James (Kansas City, Missouri). One such Sunday he was standing in the entrance of the church in his full regalia and the bus from the state mental institution dropped off six clients. Seeing Bishop Boland one young man whose mind had been altered by drugs came up and said: ” Mister Bishop… Mister Bishop…Mister Bishop…I’ve always wanted to join the Catholic Church but my family won’t let me.” Bishop Boland said: “Are your shoes nailed to the floor?” “What?” said the young man. ” Are your shoes nailed to the floor?” “No” said the young man. “Well,” said Bishop Boland, “if your shoes aren’t nailed to the floor you can go anywhere you want.” Bishop Boland was a kind, gentle soul to so many poor people. He was a good friend of St. James Parish, the food pantry and soup kitchen. He would put his arm around me at gatherings and say, “Father Bill is my pastor.” I was never so honored. RIP -Fr. Bill
Bishop Boland’s funeral will take place in Cork, Ireland on Tuesday, March 4th. A memorial Mass will be celebrated in Kansas City, Missouri at a later date.