Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Costello remembered for ministry, leadership, advocacy at Mass of Christian burial
Friends and colleagues, clergy and lay, prominent and not shared tearful memories during vigil services and a funeral Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the central church of the seven-county diocese and the site of Bishop Costello’s 1954 ordination as a priest and 1978 installation as a bishop.
Friends, colleagues, and Catholics who knew Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Costello or knew of him (including thousands of confirmands) remember him as an ebullient, generous priest who often introduced himself simply as “Tom Costello.” Over a nearly 65-year ministry, Bishop Costello influenced people through energetic homilies, prepared speeches and protests, personal interaction, quiet support, and private letters. He cared for people through gestures public and private, large and small.
Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Costello, a native son who served the Diocese of Syracuse for nearly 65 years, died Feb. 15, eight days short of his 90th birthday. The big man with a booming voice and a bigger laugh will be remembered for his commitment to social justice, support for his brother priests, and a quick wit.
“Thanks to you, Catholic schools will continue to deliver quality academic foundation, solid moral formation, authentic grounding in our faith, and an educational experience that equips one for a lifetime,” Bishop Thomas J. Costello told those gathered.
On March 7, 1965, hundreds gathered in Selma, Ala., to march to Montgomery in support of civil and voting rights. That day came to be known as “Bloody Sunday” when marchers were violently attacked by law enforcement at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Rev. Martin Luther King led a second march to the bridge two days later. A third march began March 21, swelling to include some 25,000 people by the time it reached Montgomery’s Capitol March 25. Among those thousands in Montgomery was a young priest from Syracuse, Father Thomas Costello.