In memoriam: Bishop William Friend

Bishop William Benedict Friend, the founding Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport, died at his home in Coral Springs, Florida, Thursday, April 2.  Born Oct. 22, 1931, in Miami, Bishop Friend was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in Mobile, Ala., on May 7, 1959. He and retired Bishop William Houck of the Diocese of Jackson, were good friends.
After lengthy service as a parish priest and pastoral research specialist, Father Friend was named as Auxiliary Bishop of Alexandria, La., in 1979, becoming bishop of Alexandria in 1983. Under the direction of St. John Paul II, Bishop Friend founded the Diocese of Shreveport in July 1986 and remained bishop of that diocese until his retirement in 2006 after 47 years of active priesthood, 36 of those years serving as a bishop. He leaves behind a remarkable legacy of public speaking, pastoral experience, teaching and educational administration as well as published works on both professional and research levels.
Bishop Houck remembers a joyful man who “lived up to his name,” befriending all who knew him. “He was a capable and dedicated leader. He had a joyful and generous manner of using his values, talents and abilities in service to others,” said Bishop Houck. He added that Bishop Friend was a great supporter of Catholic schools. “He contributed greatly in research and planning, which he used to help the church and society at large,” added Bishop Houck.
“He left me a diocese in wonderful shape,” commented current Shreveport Bishop Michael Duca.  “His many years of work to create an active and dedicated community of priests and lay faithful is a tribute to his enormous skill and pastoral leadership.  All of us within our worship community remain grateful for his ministry to us.”
The Funeral Mass was Tuesday, April 14, at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans located in Shreveport. The diocese has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Catholic Charities.