Cover photo for Bishop Emeritus Thomas G. Doran's Obituary
Bishop Emeritus Thomas G. Doran Profile Photo
1936 Bishop Emeritus 2016

Bishop Emeritus Thomas G. Doran

February 20, 1936 — September 1, 2016

Bishop Emeritus Thomas George Doran, D.D., J.C.D

Bishop Emeritus Thomas George Doran, D.D., J.C.D., died peacefully at his residence in Presence Cor Mariae, Rockford, on September 1, 2016. He was 80 years old.

Bishop Doran was born on February 20, 1936, in Rockford, Illinois to Robert J. and Gretchen (Durst) Doran. He attended St. James Pro-Cathedral Grade School graduating in 1950. He attended Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin from 1950 to 1954. Bishop Doran then entered the college seminary and completed his classical and philosophical studies at St. Pius X Seminary at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa from 1954 to 1958. Upon his graduation in 1958, he was assigned to Theological Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and to receive his priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College, Vatican City.

On December 20, 1961 he was ordained a priest in the Basilica of St. Peter by The Most Reverend Martin J. O’Connor, Rector of the Pontifical North American College. After ordination he completed studies and was awarded a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1962. Upon his return to the Diocese of Rockford, Father Doran was assigned assistant pastor at St. Joseph Parish, Elgin, and to teach religion at St. Edward Central Catholic High School from 1962 to 1963. He then was assigned as assistant pastor at St. Peter Parish, South Beloit and to work in the Diocesan Tribunal from 1963 to 1965. In 1965, Bishop Loras T. Lane appointed Father Doran to be his secretary, and secretary of the Diocesan Tribunal and a Defender of the Bond until Bishop Arthur J. O’Neill appointed him Chancellor in 1969 where he served for the next 17 and one half years. During that time, he also served as director of religious education and assistant principal at Boylan Central Catholic High School and served on the diocesan College of Consultors. In 1976 he was named Officialis of the Diocesan Tribunal and pursued post-graduate studies in Canon Law in Rome receiving a doctorate in 1978. He was appointed the first Episcopal Vicar for Catholic Education by Bishop O’Neill and served in that post from 1982 to 1984. In 1984 Father Doran was appointed rector of the Cathedral of St. Peter, also continuing as chancellor until he was appointed Prelate Auditor of the Roman Rota by Pope John Paul II and elevated to the title of Monsignor.

He served the Holy See until his appointment as bishop of Rockford on April 19, 1994. He was ordained and installed the eighth Bishop of the Rockford Diocese on June 24, 1994 by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago.

As the leader of the 11-county diocese, Bishop Doran oversaw, directed and supported many initiatives to further the Catholic identity and strengthen the future of all diocesan ministries. He presided over the local Jubilee 2000 celebration of the Universal Church and the Centennial of the Diocese of Rockford in addition to many other milestone events.

On September 2, 2000, the Holy Father recognized the Diocese of Rockford and Bishop Doran by naming him a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. On March 2, 2001, Pope John Paul II named Bishop Doran a bishop member of the Congregation for the Clergy. During his time as bishop he served on many Administrative committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and on various boards including the Catholic University of America, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, the Illinois Catholic Health Association, the National Rural Life Conference and Catholics United for the Faith.

As required by Canon Law, Bishop Doran resigned at age 75, Feb. 20, 2011 and retired upon the appointment of a new bishop on March 20, 2012.

Bishop Doran is survived by his sister Susanne Doran and many cousins.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, September 9, 2016, at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter, 1243 N. Church Street, Rockford. Evening prayer will be at 4 p.m. Thursday, September 8 at the Cathedral with public visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. and visitation from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral prior to the Mass. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery, Winnebago, Illinois. Arrangements are being completed by Fitzgerald Funeral Home, Rockford. The visitation and Mass are open to the public. The Funeral Mass will be livestreamed at Memorial gifts can be made in Bishop Doran’s name to the Catholic Education Office for the Diocese of Rockford. Express online condolences at:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bishop Emeritus Thomas G. Doran, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, September 9, 2016

9:00 - 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, September 9, 2016

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Winnebago/Rockford

8616 West State Road, Winnebago, IL 61088

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