Clarence Richard Silva

The Most Reverend
Clarence Richard Silva
Bishop of Honolulu
Church Roman Catholic
See Honolulu
In office May 17, 2005 — present
Predecessor Francis Xavier DiLorenzo
Successor incumbent
Personal details
Born (1949-08-06) August 6, 1949
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Nationality American

Clarence Richard Silva, popularly known as Larry Silva (born August 6, 1949), is a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the fifth Bishop of Honolulu, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on May 17, 2005, to oversee the Diocese of Honolulu. Previous to his appointment to the epicopacy, he served as a diocesan priest and later vicar general of the Diocese of Oakland in California. He is the first person born in Hawaii to lead the Roman Catholic community of the Hawaiian Islands. He is also the second person of Portuguese ancestry[1] to serve the community as its ordinary.

As Bishop of Honolulu, Silva has his liturgical and canonical seat or cathedra at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace; he also has a cathedra at the Co-Cathedral of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus in Kapālama. At both of the above cathderal churches, rectors and parochial vicars administer the daily liturgical and pastoral work. The bishop's administrative offices are located in the Bishop Street chancery.


  • Education 1
  • California apostolate 2
  • Episcopal consecration and installation 3
  • Hawai‘i ministry 4
  • References 5


Silva was born on the island of O‘ahu to electrician and refrigeration mechanic Richard Silva and homemaker Catherine Alves Silva at Saint Francis Hospital in Liliha. The great grandson of immigrants from the Azores, Silva was baptized at Saint Anthony Church in Kailua but moved to California during his first year of life. He attended Saint John the Baptist School in San Lorenzo and Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland. Convinced of a calling to Holy Orders, Silva spent his undergraduate years at Saint Joseph College Seminary in Mountain View where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree and Saint Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park where he later obtained a Master of Divinity degree. Silva studied the Spanish language in Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1975 and 1978. During his first sabbatical leave, he studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy in 1991.

California apostolate

After completing theological studies, Silva was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Oakland on May 2, 1975 by Floyd Lawrence Begin, Bishop of Oakland.

Silva served as associate pastor and pastor at nine parish churches throughout the Diocese of Oakland: Saint Bernard Church from 1975 to 1978, Our Lady of the Rosary Church from 1978 to 1979, Saint Bede Church in Hayward from 1983 to 1984, Saint Peter Martyr Church in Pittsburg from 1984 to 1986 and Saint Anthony Church in Oakland from 1986 to 1991. After taking sabbatical leave from January to August 1991, he returned to his home diocese to serve at Saint John the Baptist Church in El Cerrito from 1991 to 1994, Saint Andrew and Saint Joseph Church in Oakland from 1994 to 1999 and Saint Leonard and Saint Paula in Fremont from 2000 to 2003. Employing parish clustering, he served as pastor of two parishes at a time. He oversaw the merger of two parishes into one several times.

Silva served under various leadership positions in the Diocese of Oakland. While associate pastor and pastor of various parish churches, Silva also served as diocesan vocations director from 1979 to 1983. He recruited religious brothers and priests for the Diocese of Oakland. In 2003, Allen Henry Vigneron, Bishop of Oakland, appointed Silva his vicar general and moderator of the diocesan curia.

As vicar general and moderator of the diocesan curia, Silva was instrumental in the planning for the construction of the Cathedral of Christ the Light, the replacement of the Cathedral of Saint Francis de Sales destroyed in the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989.

Episcopal consecration and installation

Styles of
Clarence Richard Silva
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Your Excellency
Posthumous style not applicable

Silva's consecration as bishop and installation as prelate over the Hawaiian Islands occurred on July 21, 2005 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena. It was the first joint consecration and installation ceremony in Hawaii; former bishops had already been consecrated on the mainland prior to their installation. It was also the first such ceremony held at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center since 1982.

Silva was consecrated by Bishop of Helena; Msgr. Joseph Estabrook of the Military Ordinariate of the United States; Msgr. Richard Garcia, Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento; Msgr. Patricio Alo, Bishop of Mati in the Philippines; and Msgr. Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop of Stockton. Roger Cardinal Mahony, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was expected to attend the event, but was unable to attend due to airplane problems in Los Angeles.

The Episcopal coat-of-arms for Bishop Silva was designed by Father Quang Dong and Thanh Dong of the Diocese of Oakland. Silva means "forest" in Portuguese. The sinister impalement contains three trees in the "forest"; the kukui (Aleurites mollucana) on the right, symbolizing Hawai‘i, the birthplace of the bishop, his parents and grandparents. The kukui yields an oil with healing properties that also provides light; the oak (Quercus alba) on the left, symbolizing Oakland (Quercopolitana) where Bishop Silva grew up and where he served as a priest for 30 years; and the cross - the tree of life - in the center, with olive leaves symbolizing Malia O Ka Malu (Mary, Queen of Peace), patroness of the Diocese of Honolulu (Honolulu is translated from Hawaiian as "peaceful harbor") under whose protection Bishop Silva entrusts his episcopal ministry. Bishop Silva's episcopal motto, "Witness to Jesus" derives from Revelation 19:10.

Hawai‘i ministry

Silva assumes the episcopacy as successor to Francis Xavier DiLorenzo, fourth Bishop of Honolulu. He was the first Bishop of Honolulu to have originally come from Hawaii.

DiLorenzo dealt with priests accused of abusing minors. Issues facing Silva upon assuming the episcopacy include the decline of vocations and consequent difficulites in staffing parishes, and sex abuse scandals.

He was a principal promoter for the causes of sainthood for St. Damien of Moloka‘i and Blessed Marianne of Moloka‘i.

One of his first acts as bishop-elect was to travel on pilgrimage to Kalaupapa on the island of Moloka‘i on May 19, to pay homage to then-Blessed Damien and then-Blessed Marianne. Marianne had only been beatified and raised to the title of Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI a few days earlier on May 14. Speaking of his pilgrimage Silva said, "I will let that empower me in my ministry to the people of Hawai‘i. Damien has been my hero since I was a boy." Silva's great grandfather was a patient of the leper colony.

After the 2009 Canonisation of Father Damien and the 2012 Canonisation of Mother Marianne, Bishop Silva had the unique distinction of being the only Bishop in American history who had two people from his diocese canonised during his episcopate. (Although the Archdiocese of Philadelphia also has two canonised members, they were during the episcopates of two different archbishops.)

Msgr. Silva was inducted into the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in 2005 and holds the rank of Grand Officer. He is also a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

In June 2013, a special ceremony was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, inducting him into the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, where he holds the rank of Knight Companion. He had especially been cited for having "gained the respect and admiration of the High Chiefs, Chief, Officers, Mamo Hawaii and Na Wahine Hui o Kamehameha I for his ecumenical spirit of aloha, kindness sensitivity to our island ways and for his love of the Hawaiian culture and all the cultures for people from around the world who call Hawaii home." [2]

Msgr. Silva first ordination was Brother Johnathan Hurrell, SS.CC., to the priesthood on November 25, 2005, at Saint Patrick Church in Kaimuki, Honolulu.


  1. ^ "Distinguished Americans & Canadians of Portuguese Descent". Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  2. ^
  • Allen Henry Vigneron Statement of Silva Appointment on 17 May 2005
  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Statement of Silva Appointment on 17 May 2005
  • Vatican Statement of Silva Appointment on 17 May 2005
  • Honolulu Advertiser Preview of the Ordination and Installation Ceremony on 25 May 2005
  • Hawaii Catholic Herald, July 15, 2005 - Special Edition for the Installation and Ordination of Bishop Clarence Silva
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Francis X. DiLorenzo
Bishop of Honolulu
Succeeded by
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