Hall of Fame Retrospective: Most Reverend John J. Paul (’39)

A natural athlete and leader, Most Reverend John J. Paul (‘ 39) made his mark in athletic competition before answering his calling.

Most Rev. John J. Paul (’39)

A three-sport athlete, Paul showed his prowess on the basketball court, football field and baseball diamond while at Loras. Despite the Duhawks’ 12-20-1 record on the gridiron during his years at Loras, Paul collected Iowa Conference honors as a sophomore. He would also serve as co-captain on the hardwood as Loras tallied a 49-28 record in four seasons.

Following his graduation from Loras, Paul was ordained as a priest on January 24, 1943, in his hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin. While in Eau Claire, he helped establish Regis High School before being assigned at Holy Cross Seminary then at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman, both in La Crosse.

In 1977, Fr. Paul was appointed bishop for the Diocese of La Crosse on May 17, 1977, and was consecrated on August 4, 1977. Upon the retirement of Bishop Frederick W. Freking, Bishop Paul was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse on October 17, 1983, a post he would hold until his retirement in 1994.

Paul was inducted into the Loras Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983 as a member of the inaugural class.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2020, Loras was ranked the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 12th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).