The Archbishop  Borders  School

A Catholic, Dual-Language, Community School

About Archbishop William Borders

William Donald Borders (born October 9, 1913 and died April 19. 2010) was the 13th Archbishop of Baltimore in the Roman Catholic Church. He was named Archbishop of Baltimore by the late Pope Paul VI on March 25, 1974, and was formally installed on June 26 of that year, in ceremonies at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.  Prior to coming to Baltimore, he served for six years (1968-1974) as the first bishop of the newly created Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando, Florida.


William Donald Borders was born in Washington, Indiana and attended parochial, elementary and high schools there. He began his studies for the priesthood in 1932 at St. Meinrad Seminary in his native state, but in 1936 transferred to Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in response to an appeal from Archbishop Joseph Rummel of that city. He was ordained by Archbishop Rummel in New Orleans' St. Louis Cathedral on May 18, 1940.


Archbishop Borders' first priestly assignment was as associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and served with the 91st Infantry Division in Africa and Italy. He left the military service in 1946 with the rank of major.


Following his separation from the Armed Forces, the future Archbishop served briefly as associate pastor at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Parish, Westwego, Louisiana. He then enrolled at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he obtained a Master of Science degree in education in 1947. Upon completion of his graduate studies, he was named associate pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in New Orleans.

In 1948 he became assistant chaplain of Christ the King Chapel at Louisiana State University. Except for a two-year period (1957-1959) when he served as pastor of Holy Family Church in Port Allen, Louisiana, he was to be on the LSU campus, first as assistant chaplain and then as chaplain, until 1964.


In that year he became rector of St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, where he served as diocesan director of the Councils of Catholic Men and Women, director of seminarians, a diocesan consultor, and founder of the minor seminary. In 1963 he was named a Domestic Prelate with the title of Monsignor.


On May 2, 1968, Pope Paul VI named him Bishop of Orlando and he was consecrated on June 14, entering his new diocese three days later.

In Orlando, Bishop Borders acted vigorously to implement the directives of the Second Vatican Council, with particular emphasis on those having to do with collegiality or shared responsibility. Under his guidance diocesan and parish councils, boards of education, and similar commissions were established, and he created a Social Services Board to correlate the work of already existing agencies. He developed a comprehensive educational program aimed at coordinating efforts in Catholic schools, the campus ministry apostolate, and religious education at all levels. Multi-service centers for the poor and for migrant workers were set up at various places in the diocese.


Archbishop Borders' transfer to Baltimore in 1974 heightened his efforts to govern and serve in a truly collegial manner. He divided the Archdiocese into three vicariates and appointed his three auxiliary Bishops as vicars over them, with delegated authority to act in his name on most matters. He reorganized the Archdiocesan Central Services, naming cabinet-level Secretaries to carry out the administrative work of the Archdiocese and thus free him for more pastoral concerns. He clarified and strengthened the role of the Archdiocesan pastoral Council. He combined the old Board of Consultors and the more recent Senate of Priests into a newly formed Priests Council to advise him on priestly and pastoral matters.


He also initiated a Department of Pastoral Planning and Management looking to the future needs of the Archdiocese, an Office of Fund Development to carry out an effective stewardship program, and a vigorous evangelization effort to reach the unchurched of the Archdiocese.

In the fall of 1981, in company with other leading Catholic educators, he made a three-week tour of the Peoples Republic of China to investigate the possibilities for an exchange of cultural and educational programs between that nation and the United States.

At the national level, he served as chairman of the Education Committee of the United States Catholic Conference; as a member of the USCC Administrative Board; as a member of the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, of the Bishops' Welfare Emergency Relief Committee, and the Bishops' Committee on Moral Values; and as chairman of the ad hoc Committee of Bishops and Catholic College Presidents.


Archbishop Borders submitted his resignation to Pope John Paul II on his 75th birthday. It was accepted some months later, and on April 6, 1989, he was succeeded by Most Rev. William H. Keeler, until then the Bishop of Harrisburg and who later became Cardinal.