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Harry Clinch, 94; Bishop of Monterey, Second Vatican Council Participant

March 09, 2003|Larry B. Stammer | Times Staff Writer

The Most Rev. Harry A. Clinch, the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey and a participant in the historic Second Vatican Council, died Saturday at his home in Santa Cruz. He was 94.

A spokesman for the diocese said Clinch, a bishop for 46 years, died of complications from pneumonia.

"Those whom Bishop Clinch served as priest and bishop remember him as a gentle and compassionate shepherd," Monterey Bishop Sylvester D. Ryan said Saturday. "He became a precious friend and counselor to me, as he was for many others. We who knew him are deeply grateful for his example as a faithful servant of Christ and one who generously spent his life to serve others. He leaves a great legacy to us all."

Clinch was born in San Anselmo, Calif., on Oct. 27, 1908, and began studying for the priesthood while in high school in Kansas City, Mo., and later at St. Joseph's College in Mountain View, Calif., and St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif.

He was ordained a priest in June 1936 and appointed bishop of the old Monterey-Fresno Diocese by Pope Pius XII on Feb. 27, 1957. In 1967, Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Clinch as the first bishop of the newly redrawn Diocese of Monterey.

Clinch was a voting participant at the Second Vatican Council, the historic council called by Pope John XXIII in 1962 and completed under Paul VI's pontificate, which brought sweeping changes into the worldwide church.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Carmel Mission Basilica at noon Friday. Burial will follow at 3 p.m. at San Carlos Cemetery in Monterey. A rosary service and vigil will be held Thursday.

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