Archbishop of San Francisco
Salvatore J. Cordileone
Salvatore J. Cordileone was born in San Diego on June 5, 1956 to Leon and Mary Cordileone, who raised their family in Blessed Sacrament Parish. Salvatore was the second son and the third of their four children.
Family history and youth
Archbishop Cordileone's grandparents were from Sicily; his paternal grandfather was a fisherman and his maternal grandfather, Salvatore, a farmer. His paternal uncle, Joe, died in World War II.
The Archbishop's father, Leon Cordileone, was born in San Francisco. He moved with his family to San Diego when he was four. Later, he worked with his three brothers in the family commercial fishing business and later bought his own albacore fishing boat.
Mary, the Archbishop's mother, was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, the oldest of four sisters. In 1947 she and her family moved to San Diego where she met Leon. The two were married on November 13, 1949.
Salvatore attended public grammar and high schools and was an active participant in after-school religion classes and high school music programs, including the concert band, marching band and stage band. He graduated from San Diego's Crawford High School in June 1974.
A call to priesthood
The following December, during his first year of college at San Diego State University, he was encouraged by a young parish priest he respected to attend a seminary vocation retreat. It was during this first year that the Archbishop discerned his call to the priesthood, entering St. Francis Seminary and transferring as a sophomore to the University of San Diego.
Salvatore Cordileone graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in Philosophy. He was accepted to study in Rome and continued in the seminary at the Pontifical North American College. He received an undergraduate degree in Sacred Theology in 1981 from the Pontifical Gregorian University and the following year returned to San Diego to be ordained and begin his first pastoral assignment.
From pastor to monsignor to bishop
On July 9, 1982, Bishop Leo T. Maher ordained the Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone. Soon thereafter, he became associate pastor at St. Martin of Tours Parish in La Mesa, where he remained for three years. In 1985 he was again sent to Rome, this time to study the new Code of Canon Law. He spent the next four years again at the Gregorian University completing his doctoral degree.
Upon Father Cordileone’s return to San Diego in 1989, he became secretary to Coadjutor Bishop Robert Brom, and a year later became adjunct judicial vicar. Pastoral work called to him again in 1991 and he became pastor of Calexico’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, four blocks from the Mexican border.
In 1995 he was called to Rome and for the next seven years served as assistant at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest canonical court.
On July 5, 2002, Pope John Paul II appointed then-Monsignor Cordileone as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego. He was ordained a bishop on August 21, 2002 by Bishop Brom. In addition to serving on the various consultative bodies of the diocese during his years as auxiliary of San Diego, Bishop Cordileone also chaired the Corporate Board of Catholic Charities and was a member of the University of San Diego Board of Trustees, serving on its Academic Affairs and Mission and Vision Committees.
The Archbishop of San Francisco
On March 23, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Cordileone as the fourth Bishop of Oakland. His Mass of Installation was celebrated on May 5, 2009 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland. Three years later, on July 27, 2012, he was appointed the Archbishop of San Francisco and was installed on October 4, 2012, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.
As the new Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of San Francisco, Archbishop Cordileone received the pallium from Pope Francis in Rome on June 29, 2013.
Archbishop Cordileone chairs the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage and sits on the Committee for Canonical Affairs. He is a member of the Board of Trustees, Catholic University of America; the Governing Board of the International Theological Institute; and the Subcommission on the Liturgy for the Anglican Ordinariates.
Archbishop Cordileone’s avocations include a life-long interest in jazz music. He also enjoys swimming, hiking and badminton, as well as spectator sports, especially professional baseball and football.
Coat of Arms
The coat of arms of Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone celebrates the line of fishermen in his family, showing a red crab against a silver background, and a demi-lion with red claws holding a heart to honor the family name, Cordileone, meaning "heart of a lion” from a literal translation of cor di leone.
On the banner at the bottom is written his motto, “In Verbo Tuo,” translated “At Your Word,” recalling the Gospel story of the apostles casting their nets at the Lord’s urging after fishing all night and catching nothing. Peter lets down the net on the strength of Christ’s command. “And Simon answered: ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets’." (Luke 5:5)