California chaplain loves role as shepherd
San Jose Bishop Thomas Daly relishes his role as bishop and Legatus chaplain . . .
Bishop Thomas Daly
San Jose Chapter
Before becoming the first auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Jose in 2011, Bishop Thomas Daly was a priest of the San Francisco archdiocese. After his priestly ordination in 1987, he served as a parish pastor and parochial vicar, as a teacher and campus minister, and later as president of Marin Catholic High School, as a San Francisco Police Department chaplain, and archdiocesan director of vocations. Bishop Daly is a graduate of the University of San Francisco and holds master’s degrees from Boston College and St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif.
Tell us about your call to the priesthood.
I was born and raised in San Francisco at a time when the city was still very Catholic and people identified themselves more by their parish and the school than their neighborhood. I am the fourth of seven children and attended Catholic school from first grade through college.
The example of my parents, parish priests, the Daughters of Charity and the De La Salle Christian Brothers all played significant roles in my discerning the call to priesthood. This was in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Their example was one of stability and commitment to Jesus Christ. My dad was an executive who worked hard to send all of us to Catholic schools, and my mom lived each day with a strong sense of self-sacrifice, humility, compassion and prayer. Both were great models of discipleship.
What have you found to be the most fulfilling aspect of your priesthood?
Being able to shepherd the people of God — that is, to celebrate the sacraments and assist people in hearing the Good News. There is so much that distracts people today, especially because of the addiction to technology. To call people to quiet and remind them, as St. Peter writes, that “the goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls” is truly a privilege.
How did you become acquainted with Legatus?
I first heard of Legatus from Fr. Mike Barber, a Jesuit who was a faculty member at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park. Legatus has brought together men and women of strong faith and prominent influence in the business and professional community of Santa Clara County.
Beginning our meetings with Mass, being able to share a meal together, and then listening to distinguished and timely speakers are opportunities that only Legatus can provide. Our members can then go out to their respective areas of work and be Christ for our world. The Silicon Valley needs credible Catholic lay people of faith who aren’t afraid to say that we are not our own saviors — no matter how wealthy or successful we might be.
How do you approach your role as Legatus chaplain?
I see my role to be that of a spiritual guide and shepherd. I try my best to make sure that scheduling conflicts don’t get in the way of attending our gatherings.
You have a vocation, of course. Any avocations?
If I could manage my time better, I wouldn’t mind playing more golf with some former students of mine. During the summer, I like to go swimming or go for a bike ride.
Are there any lessons you’ve learned as a priest that are especially apt for business leaders?
There are no moral shortcuts! My father told me this from his experience in business and the older I get, the more I see his wisdom.
Are there any devotions you recommend to Legates?
Attend Mass at least one day during the week, regular Confession — a great gift of grace that too few participate in. Also, the rosary, because Mary always leads us closer to her Son, and an annual retreat.