Bishop Clark

Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark
8th Bishop of Rochester

Installed: June 26, 1979
Retired: September 21, 2012

Born: July 15, 1937 in Waterford, N.Y., near Albany
Died: January 22, 2023 in Rochester, N.Y. at Sisters of Saint Joseph Motherhouse
Parents: M. Harvey and Grace (Bills) Clark (both deceased)
Education: Public School 1, Waterford, New York; Catholic Central High School, Troy; Holy Cross College, Worcester, Mass.; Mater Christi Seminary, Albany; St. Bernard’s Seminary, Rochester; North American College, Rome, Italy; Gregorian University, Rome, Italy.

A New Bishop

Then-Father Matthew Clark is ordained a Bishop by Pope John Paul II in May 1979 at St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican


1962: Ordained a priest in Rome, Italy, by Bishop Martin O’Connor in the
Church of Christ the King, Dec.19, 1962.
1963: Awarded a Licenciate in Theology (S.T.L.) from Gregorian University in Rome
1963 – 1964: Taught at the Vincentian Institute in Albany while serving at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Albany
1964 – 1966: Studied at the Gregorian University, Rome, and was awarded a Licentiate in Canon Law (J.C.L.) in 1966
1966 – 1967: Served as Vice-Chancellor, Diocese of Albany
1967 – 1972: Served as assistant Pastor, St. Ambrose Parish, Latham, N.Y.
1969 – 1972: Chairperson, Priests’ Personnel Board, Diocese of Albany
1972 – 1974: Served as Assistant Spiritual Director, North American College, Rome
1974 – 1979: Served as Spiritual Director, North American College, Rome
May 27, 1979
Ordained a Bishop in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, by Pope John Paul II
June 26, 1979
Installed as eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester, in ceremonies attended by thousands at the War Memorial in downtown Rochester.
September 21, 2012: Announces the Holy Father has accepted his resignation due to age,75, and assumed the title of Bishop Emeritus.


Bishop Matthew H. Clark’s coat of arms was devised shortly before his ordination as a bishop. The symbols on it relate both to the Diocese of Rochester and to his own life. The left side of the shield bears the diocesan Cross of St. Andrew with a crescent in the center. The diocesan shield was designed in the 1930s by Pierre LaRose. The St. Andrew’s Cross was taken from the coat of arms of the original Diocese of Rochester in England. LaRose distinguished the new design from the original, however, by changing a scallop shell in the center to the crescent symbol of the Immaculate Conception.

In addition, the figure emphasizes the bishop as the successor to the apostles, and the bishop’s charge to preach and live the Word of God faithfully and to witness to the Resurrection. The banner beneath the coat of arms bears the motto, “God’s Love Endures Forever.”

The hat with the tassels indicates that the shield is that of a bishop.

On the right side the cross of Pope John Paul II is displayed, indicating Bishop Clark’s respect for him as a man and for his office. In the upper left of this side a crescent again appears, signifying the Immaculate Conception, the pure disciple of God’s Work, the Patroness of the United States, of the Diocese of Albany, of the North American College and of the chapel at St. Bernard’s Seminary.
The name Matthew has been carried by three generations of the Clark family: Bishop Clark, his father and grandfather. The winged figure which appears in the lower right corner represents St. Matthew, apostle.