Bishop Robert E. Mulvee

Bishop Robert E. Mulvee

The Most Reverend Robert E. Mulvee, D.D., J.C.D., Bishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence passed away on Dec. 28, 2018, at St. Antoine Residence, North Smithfield, after a brief illness. He was 88.

Bishop Mulvee served as the seventh Bishop of Providence from June 11, 1997 until his retirement on March 31, 2005. His Episcopal Motto, “As One Who Serves” epitomizes his lifelong commitment to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church.

“Bishop Mulvee was a good and gentle shepherd of God’s people,” said Bishop Thomas J. Tobin. “He was a faithful follower of Christ who served the Church with dignity and compassion. Please pray for the peaceful repose of his soul, and for the consolation of all those who mourn his loss.”

Bishop Mulvee was born on Feb. 15, 1930, in Boston, the son of the late John F. and Jennie T. Mulvee. He prepared for the priesthood at Saint Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, Saint Paul Seminary at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and the American College at the University of Louvain in Belgium. He was ordained for the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire on June 30, 1957 at Louvain.

He served at a number of parishes in New Hampshire for several years before returning to Europe to do graduate work. In 1964, he completed his doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome and also received a master’s degree in religious education from the University of Louvain. Later that year, he was named assistant chancellor of the Manchester Diocese and began a career in which he held numerous diocesan and parish positions.

Saint Pope Paul VI named him a Papal Chamberlain with the title of Monsignor, in 1966. Monsignor Mulvee was named chancellor of the Diocese of Manchester in 1972, the post he held at the time of his appointment as the first Auxiliary Bishop of Manchester. He was ordained a bishop on April 14, 1977 at St. Joseph Cathedral, Manchester. In 1985, Bishop Mulvee was appointed the seventh Bishop of Wilmington, Delaware.

Bishop Mulvee’s tenure in Providence began in 1995 when he was named Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Providence. He became the seventh Bishop of Providence on June 11, 1997. Upon the occasion of his 75th birthday, Bishop Mulvee requested retirement as Bishop of Providence. Saint Pope John Paul II accepted his retirement March 31, 2005, and appointed Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Youngstown, Ohio, to be installed as the 8th Bishop of Providence. During retirement, Bishop Mulvee continued to assist the diocese by presiding over pontifical ceremonies and confirmations within the Diocese of Providence.

In May 2017, Bishop Mulvee received a diocesan Lumen Gentium Award in the category of Administration and Stewardship in recognition of his lifelong dedication to the Church and his service in the Diocese of Providence. In 2017, Bishop Mulvee marked his 60th anniversary as a priest, 40th as a bishop.

Bishop Mulvee was active on boards and committees including the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.; Providence College; Salve Regina University; Saint John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Mass.; and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Bishop Mulvee was a board member for Catholic Relief Services where he met St. Teresa of Calcutta. He also served as chairman of the Human Resources Committee for CRS.

As a familiar face through the halls of the Chancery building and other diocesan ministries, he will be truly missed by all of those who knew him.

Funeral arrangements are as follows: Reception of the body will be on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 3 p.m., at the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul, Providence. Visitation will follow in the Cathedral until 7 p.m., followed by evening prayer at 7 p.m. A Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 11 a.m., in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Providence. Burial will follow in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston.

Any donations in memory of Bishop Mulvee can be made to support either the diocesan homeless shelter Emmanuel House, or to The Most Reverend Robert E. Mulvee Endowment Fund for the Education of Seminarians. (c/o Stewardship and Development Office, 1 Cathedral Square, Providence, RI 02903.