Former Arlington Bishop Thomas J Welsh square

Most Reverend Thomas J. Welsh, D.D., J.C.D. (1974-1983)

Bishop Welsh was born on December 20, 1921 in Weatherly, Pennsylvania. He studied for the priesthood at St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, and was ordained a priest on May 30, 1946, and then studied at the Catholic University of America, earning a doctorate in canon law in 1949. After finishing his doctoral studies, then-Father Welsh served in various roles in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, including professor at a Catholic high school, member of the marriage tribunal, vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese.

In 1965, Pope Paul the VI named him a Monsignor, after which Monsignor Welsh served as rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. On February 18, 1970, Pope Paul VI appointed him auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, and he was consecrated on April 2, 1970.

On June 4, 1974, then-Monsignor Welsh was appointed the first Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, which was a brand new diocese, having formerly been part of the Diocese of Richmond. He was installed on August 13, 1974. Bishop Welsh served as the Shepherd of the Diocese of Arlington until he was appointed the second Bishop of Allentown on February 3, 1983 and succeeded by Bishop Keating. He later retired as Bishop of Allentown on December 15, 1997 and died on February 19, 2009.