Cardinal Wuerl to Celebrate Funeral Mass for Bishop Leonard James Olivier, S.V.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Washington

Friday, November 21, 2014

WASHINGTON – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, will celebrate the Funeral Mass of Most Reverend Leonard James Olivier, S.V.D., auxiliary bishop of Washington. Bishop Olivier was 91 years old and had been residing at the Jeanne Jugan Residence run by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington, D.C.

Funeral Mass
Monday, November 24, 2014
​10:30 a.m.​
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle
1725 Rhode Island Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036

Media outlets wishing to cover the funeral are asked to contact the archdiocese for guidance.

Bishop Olivier was born October 12, 1923 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He attended Sacred Heart of Jesus grade school in Lake Charles and then Saint Augustine Seminary, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and Saint Mary Seminary, Techny, Illinois. He was ordained a Divine Word Missionary in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, June 29, 1951. From 1951 to 1973, he served the Divine Word community in a number of capacities and was rector of Divine Word Seminary in Epworth, Iowa.

Saint Anthony Parish, Lafayette, Louisiana, was his first pastorate. In the last two years of that assignment, then-Father Olivier also was part-time Vicar for Black Catholics in the Diocese of Lafayette. He was named full time Vicar for Black Catholics in 1986, a position he held until appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Washington by Pope John Paul II on November 7, 1988. Ordained bishop on December 20, 1988, Bishop Olivier has served at different times as Regional Bishop of Deaneries in the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland. In addition, he served on a number of committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Interment will take place in Louisiana at a later date.


The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

CONTACT: Chieko Noguchi, 301-853-4516 or [email protected]