Sixth Bishop of Rockford
Loras Thomas Lane was born in Cascade, Iowa, on October 19, 1910, to Thomas and Josephine Barrett Lane. Loras Lane attended parochial grade and high schools at St. Martin Parish, Cascade, Iowa. He attended the University of Notre Dame, obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration in 1932 and then attended Loras College, Dubuque, where he completed his studies in philosophy in 1933. He was then assigned to The Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome for his priestly formation and theological studies and training.
Loras Thomas Lane was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on March 19, 1937, in Rome by His Eminence, Cardinal Marchetti-Selvagianni. His first priestly assignment was as the Assistant for Nativity Parish in Dubuque where he served for three years. In 1940, Father Lane was appointed to the faculty of Loras College where he taught until 1944 when he was appointed the secretary to Archbishop Henry P. Rohlman. At this time the Archbishop assigned Father Lane to postgraduate studies in Canon Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and he obtained his doctorate there in 1947. Upon Father Lane’s return to the Archdiocese he was appointed the Vice-Chancellor and two years later in 1949, Pope Pius XII named him a Domestic Prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor.
Loras Thomas Lane was named Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dubuque by Pope Pius XII on May 29, 1951; on June 15, 1951, he was appointed President of Loras College and on August 20, 1951, The Most Reverend Leo Binz, Archbishop of Dubuque consecrated Loras Thomas Lane at St. Raphael Cathedral, Dubuque. The coconsecrators were The Most Reverend Joseph C. Willging of Pueblo, Colorado, and The Most Reverend Edward J. Fitzgerald of Winona, Minnesota. At the time of his consecration as a bishop, Loras Lane, 40, was the youngest bishop in the United States. Bishop Lane served the Archdiocese of Dubuque as its Auxiliary Bishop and as President of Loras College for the next five years until his appointment as Bishop of Rockford.
After his installation as Bishop of Rockford on November 20, 1956, at St. James Pro-Cathedral, by Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Metropolitan Archbishop of Chicago, Bishop Lane initiated a 12-year period of growth and renewed activity in the Diocese. Bishop Lane devoted himself to every aspect of Church life and activity and reinvigorated them all.
Bishop Lane’s health began to fail noticeably about one year before his death. While he kept to his busy schedule, the long-standing kidney ailment with which he had been afflicted was taking its toll. In July 1968, Bishop Lane had to be hospitalized at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, and on July 22, 1968, Bishop Lane died at the age of 57.
Bishop Lane’s solemn Requiem Mass was offered by John Cardinal Cody, Metropolitan Archbishop of Chicago at St. James Pro-Cathedral. Archbishop Leo Binz, Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, preached the funeral sermon for Bishop Lane. It was he who had consecrated Loras Lane a bishop of the Church 17 years earlier in Dubuque. Even though it was increasingly evident to clergy and laity alike that Bishop Lane was very seriously ill, his death was deeply felt and mourned by all in the Diocese. Cardinal Cody expressed perhaps best the sentiments of affection and respect for Bishop Lane held by all: “Bishop Lane gave a life of dedicated service to the Church and to his people… Ever willing to serve the Church, his Diocese, his clergy, and his people, he was ready to sacrifice his life in their interest.” Bishop Lane was buried at Calvary Cemetery, west of Rockford, in the section reserved for priests.