Father Gregory Louis Coiro, O.F.M. Cap., former head of media relations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, died Sept. 9. He was 63. Known for his intelligence and “quick wit,” Father Coiro made an impression on those who met him, according to his friend of 41 years, Father Ron Talbott.
“He was very appreciated by the Jewish community. He helped people know more about the [Capuchin Franciscan] order by his public appliances and ecumenical services,” Father Talbott told Angelus News.
Father Coiro was born on Jan. 29, 1953, in Long Island, New York, the son of Anthony D. Coiro and Theresa M. Friedel Shelby. He graduated from Santiago High School in Garden Grove, Calif., and attended the seminary at the Dominican School of Theology and Philosophy in Berkeley.
He entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order on Aug. 15, 1972, and made his perpetual profession of vows on Sept. 22, 1979. He was ordained a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco less than three years later. After ordination he served as associate pastor for a few months at St. Joseph Church in Roseburg, Oregon.
Afterward, he returned to Southern California, where he lived and worked at St. Francis High School in La Canada-Flintridge from 1982 to 1990. Father Coiro’s “good-nature” served him well as a religion teacher and chaplain at St. Francis.
“His heart was in teaching and leading retreats. One of the best religion teachers the school ever had. He was very good at talking with the kids. The kids loved him,” explained Father Talbott.
After St. Francis High School, Father Coiro served as the public affairs officer for the media relations department of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
“He was the media relations person for Cardinal Mahoney. He had to keep the press happy and the cardinal, too,” said Father Talbott.
A multitalented person, Father Coiro also wrote for various Catholic archdiocesan newspapers, was an “excellent” preacher, played the organ “without rehearsing,” and enjoyed cooking.
After being the archdiocesan media relations spokesperson, Father Coiro returned to his parish roots as associate pastor at Our Lady of Angels Church in Burlingame, Calif. He later returned to St. Francis High School as chaplain in 2002.
In 2010, Father Coiro became rector of the National Shrine of St. Francis in San Francisco, where he served until 2013 before retiring due to health issues. Father Gregory died from renal failure at Coming Home Hospice in San Francisco.
Father Coiro was preceded in death by his father, and is survived by his mother, one brother and three sisters.
A funeral Mass for Father Coiro was held at St. Bede the Venerable Church in La Canada-Flintridge. He was interned at San Lorenzo Friary in Santa Ynez.
Donations in honor of Father Coiro can be made to the Capuchin Franciscan Foundation for Retired Priests, 1345 Cortez Ave., Burlingame, CA, 94010.