Archbishop Paul S. Coakley was born to John and Mary Coakley in Norfolk, VA in 1955 and lived there with his father, mother and older brother, John, until he was two years old. The family relocated to Metairie, LA where his sister, Mary Christina was born. After beginning his elementary education at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School the family moved in 1965 to Overland Park, KS. Bishop Coakley's secondary education was completed in public schools in Overland Park.
After graduation from high school he attended the University of Kansas where he completed his undergraduate studies in English and Classical Antiquities in 1977. During this period he was a student in KU's Integrated Humanities Program, where he studied under John Senior, Dennis Quinn and Frank Nelick.
Upon completing university studies Archbishop Coakley traveled in Europe and briefly considered a monastic vocation at the Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault in France, before he returned to begin seminary studies for Diocese of Wichita in 1978.
After completing studies at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, he was ordained a priest on May 21, 1983. After serving as a priest of the Diocese of Wichita for twenty-one years, he was appointed Bishop of Salina on October 21, 2004. Bishop Coakley was ordained and installed as Bishop of Salina on December 28, 2004.
On December 16, 2010, Bishop Coakley was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the fourth Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He was installed as Metropolitan Archbishop on February 11, 2011.
Archbishop Coakley has selected "Duc in Altum" as his episcopal motto (Put out into the Deep). It is found in St. Luke's gospel when Jesus, after teaching the crowds from Simon's boat, invites the apostles to "put out into the deep" and lower their nets for a catch (Lk.5:4). Obedient to Jesus' command, Simon Peter and his companions cast their nets as directed, and "caught such a great number of fish that their nets were at the breaking point" (Lk. 5:4). Jesus calls the Church today, as always, to put out into the deep, as a witness to hope, to hear, and to respond joyfully to his word with faith and confidence. It is a call to embrace the challenges and oppoprtunities of the New Evangelization.
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Archbishop Emeritus of Kansas City in Kansas
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Denver
Bishop of Green Bay
Founder and Editor of Ignatius Press
Secretary for Catholic Media, Archdiocese of Boston
Director, Archdiocesan Catechetical Center, San Antonio