By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T staff writer

Timothy C. Senior entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood in the fall of 1978.

He was ordained a priest for the Philadelphia Archdiocese May 18, 1985, by Cardinal John Krol at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

A seminary classmate at St. Charles was now-Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishop Daniel E. Thomas.

Early on at St. Charles, “we had a good rapport,” Bishop Thomas said of his friendship with Bishop-elect Senior.

And they shared similar interests, music and theater among them. At St. Charles, Bishop-elect Senior played the organ as Bishop Thomas sang in the choir. For the seminary plays, Bishop-elect Senior served as a director and musician; Bishop Thomas was an actor and singer.

Regarding his friend’s appointment as an auxiliary bishop, Bishop Thomas said he is particularly happy for their seminary class and fellow priests, but also for the entire Archdiocese.

For the friends and former seminary classmates to now work collaboratively in the service of the Church for Cardinal Justin Rigali and for the Archdiocese as brother bishops is “a dream,” added Bishop Thomas.

“He has a keen intellect,” Bishop Thomas said. “He has splendid administrative skills.”

Bishop-elect Senior leads a balanced life, Bishop Thomas said. “He’s as comfortable at a Phillies game as he is at the art museum,” he added of his friend, who is also a classically trained pianist. “He’s a man of great culture who also is very faithful to his prayer, and is somebody who always has a spiritual book.”

Another asset the new auxiliary bishop possesses is “an extraordinary sense of humor,” Bishop Thomas said. “He has the unique ability to make people laugh. He’s able to see the humor in the human. He’s also a great imitator.”

Since 2006, Bishop Thomas has been assisting the Cardinal in overseeing the Office for Clergy, where Bishop-elect Senior has been serving as Vicar for Clergy since 2004.

“I have been richly blessed to have had the opportunity to work closely with him in service of the Cardinal in the pastoral care of priests,” Bishop Thomas said.

Throughout their collaborative work in the clergy office, Bishop Thomas said he and Bishop-elect Senior have kept in mind a maxim of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. “John Vianney’s definition of the priesthood is that the priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus,” Bishop Thomas said.

In his work with Bishop-elect Senior in the clergy office, Bishop Thomas said he has seen on a daily basis “the love of his heart for his brother priests in every aspect.”

Bishop Thomas believes the role of the Vicar for Clergy “is beyond doubt the most difficult priestly assignment in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” he said.

“To be serving the Cardinal in that office requires extraordinary energy, confidentiality, charity and responsibility.”

In exercising his duties as Vicar for Clergy in such capacities, Bishop-elect Senior “combines a practical realism with compassion and deep priestly respect,” Bishop Thomas said.

In return, “he has certainly enjoyed the respect of the priests,” Bishop Thomas said.


CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or