Episcopal Diocese of Western New York

Our Bishop

The Rt. Rev. R. William Franklin

Eleventh Bishop of Western New York

716-881-0660 x 11

The Rt. Rev. R. William FranklinWilliam Franklin was elected Bishop of Western New York on November 20, 2010 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo. He was consecrated as bishop on April 30, 2011. He is the 1057th bishop in the succession of bishops in The Episcopal Church, which is itself rooted in the historic succession of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

Bishop Franklin was serving as the Senior Associate Priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, PA, a position he had held since July 2010, at the time of his election. Prior to this, he worked for five years in Italy where he was an Associate Priest at St. Paul’s Within the Walls in Rome. While in Italy, he also served as Associate Director of the American Academy in Rome, a Fellow and Associate Priest of the Anglican Centre in Rome and Vicar of the Church of the Resurrection in Orvieto.

Earlier in his career he was Dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He was also a professor at General Theological Seminary and at St. John’s University in Minnesota.

Bishop Franklin was born in Brookhaven, MS, on January 3, 1947. He holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in Church History from Harvard.

In the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, Bishop Franklin served as a member and as president of the Council of Advice and as a member of the leadership team and Weaver for Transformed by Stories Christian Formation Program in the European Institute of Christian Studies.

As a member of the laity, he served in the Diocese of Minnesota on the Standing Committee and as Chairman of the Board of the Episcopal House of Prayer Retreat Center.

For the National Church, he served on the Standing Commission on Ministry Development and as Chair of its Theological Committee, the Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations, and was appointed a Consultant to the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Bishops by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

He and his wife, Carmela Vircillo Franklin, who is a scholar in medieval studies at Columbia University, have been married since 1971. They have two adult daughters.

Bishop Franklin was one of two presenters at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of St John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville, MN in October 2011. View the hour-long video presentation of the event, including the very interesting Q&A follow-up session.

2018 Visitation Schedule


What Is With All The Ducks?


Shortly after Bishop Franklin became bishop the youth of St. Patrick’s, Cheektowaga introduced him to the camp game, “Would you like to buy a duck?” Trust us on this, it is one of the most annoying games around. Think of the song One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall on steroids.

Bishop Franklin declined to play the game after the first couple of attempts. At his next visit to St. Patrick’s, the youth presented him with several ducks. The trend spread. Bishop Franklin was having ducks presented to him at many visitations.

He started sharing the story of the ducks and started saying that he wanted to have 1057 ducks before he retires, because he is the 1057th bishop in The Episcopal Church.

That spread the idea of giving the bishop ducks still further. He now is given ducks at most of his visitations and on many other occasions.

As of May 1, 2017 he had 605 ducks in his collection, including several embedded in the toilet seat in the bathroom in his office.