Bishop Joseph L. Coffey, 60, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1996, and a bishop in 2019 – one of four auxiliary bishops of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.
Bishop Coffey was born in Minnesota and grew up in Philadelphia. He is the fifth of nine children. His father was a physician and served in the U.S. Navy; both his parents were devout Catholics and daily communicants. He has 46 nieces and nephews and 12 great nieces and nephews.
He graduated from La Salle University in 1982, with a double major in English/French which included a year of study at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. He then taught grade school, worked as a ski instructor in Switzerland, and sold cars in Germany and Belgium before heeding a call to the priesthood at age 30. He attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree (MDiv); he was ordained in 1996 by Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua. He then earned a Master of Arts (MA) in Moral Theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 2000.
While still in seminary, Father Coffey was given permission by Cardinal Bevilacqua to enter the U.S. Navy Chaplain Candidate Program in May of 1992 with the rank of Ensign. He stayed in the Navy Reserve for the next nine years.
In 2001, he was given permission by Philadelphia’s Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua for full-time active duty as a Navy chaplain, and has since served in assignments throughout the U.S. and all over the world. He retired from the Navy in May 2020. As an auxiliary bishop, he serves as episcopal vicar for Veteran’s Affairs.