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Bishop Joseph Howze

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Information about Bishop Joseph Howze

Profile image of Bishop Joseph Howze

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Religious Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Brown, White
Favorite Food:
Gumbo (Seafood)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
North Carolina
Favorite Quote:
Great Scots!

Birthplace

Born:
8/30/1923
Birth Location:
Daphne, Alabama

Profession

Category:
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Religious Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Brown, White
Favorite Food:
Gumbo (Seafood)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
North Carolina
Favorite Quote:
Great Scots!

Birthplace

Born:
8/30/1923
Birth Location:
Daphne
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Biography

Religious leader Bishop Joseph Howze, bishop emeritus of Biloxi, Mississippi, was the first black Catholic bishop appointed in the twentieth century. He was born Lawson Howze on August 30, 1923, in Daphne, Alabama. He grew up amid the Gulf Coast’s shipping and fishing industries. Howze attended Heart of Mary in Mobile, Alabama, for kindergarten, but later was transferred to the segregated public schools of Mobile. He graduated from Mobile County Secondary School in 1944, and in 1946, he graduated from the Alabama State Branch Junior College in Mobile. Earning his B.A. degree from Alabama State University in 1948, Howze worked as a teacher at Mobile’s Central High School. That same year, he converted to Catholicism and took the name of Joseph. In 1952, Howze was hired to teach at his first Catholic school, St. Monica, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Drawn to the priesthood, Howze was admitted to Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure University in New York. He received his doctor of divinity in 1959 and was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, that same year. Howze was a pastor in Asheville, North Carolina, when he was consecrated titular bishop of massita and auxiliary bishop of Natchez-Jackson, Mississippi, in 1972 by Pope Paul VI. Howze was installed as bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi on June 6, 1977, with responsibility for the southern third of Mississippi. In his twenty-three years as bishop, the diocese grew nearly 30 percent, from 50,000 to almost 66,000 parishioners. Howze has served on the National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) Ad Hoc “Call to Action Committee,” the World Peace Committee of the United States Catholic Conference, and the Mississippi Health Care Commission.

Howze is presently a member of the NCCB Liaison Committee to the National Office of Black Catholics; the Biloxi Regional Health Center Board; the Board of Directors of the Gulf Pines Girl Scout Council; the Knights of Columbus; the Knights of Peter Claver; and the NCCB Interreligious and Ecumenical Affairs Committee. As the national episcopal liaison of the Apostleship of the Sea, Howze annually blessed the Gulf Coast fishing boats that ply their trade in the Gulf. Howze retired from the diocese on June 6, 2001.

Howze passed away on January 9, 2019.

Bishop Joseph Howze was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 12, 2002.

See how Bishop Joseph Howze is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joseph Howze interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joseph Howze lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joseph Howze talks about his parents and his ancestors' origins
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joseph Howze recalls his earliest memories and talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joseph Howze discusses his personality as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joseph Howze talks about the people that inspired him throughout his youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joseph Howze details his religious upbringing and his interest in the Catholic faith
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joseph Howze explains how he became a Catholic priest
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joseph Howze discusses race discrimination in the Catholic church in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joseph Howze details being appointed Bishop of Biloxi in the 1970s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joseph Howze recalls the challenges he faced in establishing his diocese in Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joseph Howze discusses his relationship with Xavier University of Louisiana and Catholic education for blacks
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joseph Howze comments on how the Catholic Church has made changes for its ethnic communities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joseph Howze discusses a Washington, D.C. congregation that defected from the Catholic Church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joseph Howze talks about Afrocentric organizations within the Catholic Church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joseph Howze comments on the abuse scandals within the Catholic Church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joseph Howze talks about voodoo and its use of the Catholic canon
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joseph Howze discusses his faith and Christianity as a whole
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joseph Howze details his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joseph Howze comments on the Church's responsibility to usher in social change
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joseph Howze discusses his legacy and how he would like to be remembered