William Edwin Franklin

William Edwin Franklin (born May 3, 1930) is a bishop of the Catholic Church in the United States. He served as auxiliary bishop of Archdiocese of Dubuque in the state of Iowa from 1987 to 1993, and as the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Davenport, also in Iowa, from 1993 to 2006.

William Edwin Franklin

Bishop Emeritus of Davenport
ChurchCatholic Church
AppointedNovember 12, 1993
InstalledJanuary 20, 1994
Term endedOctober 12, 2006
PredecessorGerald Francis O'Keefe
SuccessorMartin John Amos
OrdinationFebruary 4, 1956
by Leo Binz
ConsecrationApril 1, 1987
by Daniel Kucera, James Joseph Byrne, and Francis John Dunn
Personal details
Born (1930-05-03) May 3, 1930 (age 91)
Parnell, Iowa
Previous post(s)Titular Bishop of Surista
Auxiliary Bishop of Dubuque
MottoFaith Hope Love


Early life and ministryEdit

Franklin was born in Parnell, Iowa, the son of John and Matilda (Milholin) Franklin.[1] He was educated in the local parochial school and at the former St. Patrick High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He graduated from Loras College, and studied for the priesthood at Mount St. Bernard's Seminary in Dubuque.[2]

Franklin was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Dubuque on February 4, 1956, by Archbishop Leo Binz in St. Raphael's Cathedral. His initial assignment was as secretary to Archbishop Emeritus Henry Rohlman before being named associate pastor of St. John's Parish in Independence. From 1959 to 1974 he was a member of the faculty at Wahlert High School in Dubuque. From 1974 to 1976 he was associate pastor of St. Mary's Parish and a member of the faculty of Columbus High School in Waterloo. Franklin served as the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Fayette and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hawkeye from 1976 to 1980. That year he became the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Gilbertville before becoming pastor of St. Edward Parish in Waterloo. In 1984 he was assigned as dean of the Waterloo Deanery.[1][3]

On January 29, 1987, Franklin was named Titular Bishop of Surista and Auxiliary Bishop of Dubuque by Pope John Paul II. He was ordained a bishop by Archbishop Daniel Kucera, OSB, of Dubuque on April 1, 1987, in St. Raphael's Cathedral. Archbishop Emeritus James Byrne and Auxiliary Bishop Francis Dunn, both of Dubuque, acted as principal co-consecrators.[4] Franklin was assigned to be the Episcopal Vicar of the Waterloo Region of the archdiocese.[5] His office was in St. Joseph Rectory in Waterloo.[1]

Bishop of DavenportEdit

On November 12, 1993, John Paul II named Franklin as the seventh Bishop of Davenport. He was installed January 20, 1994,[2] by Archbishop Kucera in Sacred Heart Cathedral in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan.

Franklin revised the structure of the diocesan staff, creating an Office of Pastoral Services that combined the ministries of liturgy, education, and social action into the same office to facilitate better communication. He initially did away with the Diocesan Pastoral Council and instituted a Diocesan Pastoral Council Convocation in its place. This yearly event drew together clergy, religious, and parishioners from throughout the diocese for their input and formation. He also restructured the deaneries to include Deanery Councils, again to better facilitate communication between the diocese and its people.

St. Alphonsus Church in Davenport was one of several parishes in the diocese that was affected by the decline in the number of priests.

Several parishes in the diocese were either merged or closed because of changing demographics. The Redemptorists, who had served St. Alphonsus parish in Davenport for 89 years as well as other parishes, left the diocese in 1997 because of declining numbers.[6] The Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton built a new motherhouse in Clinton called the Canticle, also in 1997.[7] Irene Prior Loftus was the first layperson to serve as the diocesan chancellor, and Mary Weiser was hired as the first layperson to serve the diocese as superintendent of schools.

In 2000 the diocese, along with the entire church, celebrated the Jubilee Year proclaimed by Pope John Paul II. There were no diocesan celebrations, rather they were planned and celebrated in the diocese's six deaneries. The following year the pope bestowed papal honors on 26 people of the diocese upon Bishop Franklin's nomination. Four priests were named Chaplains to His Holiness, eight laymen were honored as Knights of St. Gregory the Great, three women received the honor of Dames of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, and 11 men and women received the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice. The three women who were bestowed with the Order of St. Gregory the Great were the first such recipients in the history of the diocese.[8]

The diocese lost two of its colleges just after the turn of the 21st century. Marycrest International University, which began as a woman's college in the 1930s, closed its doors in 2002.[9] Mt. St. Clair College in Clinton expanded and became The Franciscan University in 2002 and then The Franciscan University of the Prairies two years later. In 2005, it was sold to Bridgepoint Education, Inc. and became Ashford University, ending its affiliation with the Catholic Church.[10] Franklin's later years as diocesan bishop were consumed by the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

In 2006, the diocese celebrated its 125th anniversary. A Eucharistic Congress was held to mark the occasion at the LeClaire Park Bandshell. Bishop Paul Coakly of the Diocese of Salina preached the homily at the concluding Mass.[11][12]

Later lifeEdit

On October 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Franklin's resignation, and he was named Bishop Emeritus of Davenport.[4] Franklin Hall, a residence hall at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa is named in his honor.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Gallagher, BVM, Mary Kevin (ed.) (1987). Seed/Harvest: A History of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Duduque, Iowa: Archdiocese of Dubuque Press. p. 163.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b Bunson, Matthew (2010). 2010 Catholic Almanac. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor. p. 401.
  3. ^ "Franklin, William Edward (sic)". Encyclopedia Dubuque. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  4. ^ a b "Bishop William Edwin Franklin". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
  5. ^ "Kucera, Daniel". Encyclopedia Dubuque. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  6. ^ St. Alphonsus Parish Davenport, Iowa 100th Anniversary 1908–2008. Davenport, Iowa: St. Alphonsus Parish. 2008.
  7. ^ "History". Clinton Franciscans. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
  8. ^ Barb Arland-Fye (November 21, 2001). "Davenport Diocese honors Outstanding Catholics today". Quad-City Times. Davenport. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  9. ^ Ann McGlynn, Lee Nelson (December 18, 2001). "Marycrest to close doors". Quad-City Times. Davenport. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
  10. ^ Ann McGlynn (May 30, 2005). "Bridgepoint Education buys Franciscan college". Quad-City Times. Davenport. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
  11. ^ Deirdre Cox Baker (June 22, 2005). "Faithful to rally by the river". Quad-City Times. Davenport. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
  12. ^ Mary Louise Speer (October 10, 2006). "Diocese has bumpy road to the future". Quad-City Times. Davenport. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gerald Francis O'Keefe
Bishop of Davenport
Succeeded by
Martin John Amos