Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh was born in 1930 in Portarlington, Ireland, in a middle class urban family. He attended Jesuits preparatory schoolsand colleges -Crescent College, SJ. He began his studies for the priesthood at Mungret College, SJ, Ireland, then entered St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, Md., where he received his licentiate in theology and was ordained for the Diocese of St. Augustine, Fla. in 1954.
He received a Master of Arts degree in sociology at the University of Northern Colorado, and another master’s degree in Latin American Studies at the University of Miami. During the 1970s he served as an adjunct professor at the Barry College School of Social Work. He received honorary doctorates from the Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico, Mercy College, NY, the University of Miami, Barry University and St. Thomas University.
In 1955 he was appointed as Assistant Director of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Miami, FL, by Bishop Joseph P. Hurley, in 1958 he became Director.
From 1960 to 1981, Monsignor Walsh directed the Cuban Children’s Program/Operation Pedro Pan, which brought 14,000 unaccompanied children from Cuba to escape communism. About 7,000 of these children were given care through Catholic Community Services.
During the 1980’s under Catholic Health Services, Monsignor Walsh developed nursing homes, congregate living facilities, independent living complexes for the elderly, a home health care agency, a hospice program, and a residence for homeless people with AIDS.
Monsignor Walsh served as a trustee of the Public Health Trust of Dade County (1971-80), and as chairman (1978-80); as a member of the Dade County Community Relations Board (1982-86), and as chairman (1984-86). He was vice president of Catholic Charities USA (1983-85); chairman, Working Group on World Refugee Caritas International, Vatican City (1990-92); member, Board of Trustees, St. Thomas University, Miami.
He received recognition for community service, including -among others- the NCCJ Silver Medallion, the B’nai B’rith Florida Human Relations award, the Anti-Defamation League Florida Region Human Relations award, the Beta Lambda Fraternity’s Community Service Award, the 1983 Leadership Award of the Spanish American league against Discrimination, the 1985 Miami Herald Award, the 1985 Best and the Brightest, and the American Red Cross Humanitarian Award 1996.
He died of a congenital heart defect and was buried on Christmas Eve, 2001